There are strong similarities between this book and Orwell's 1984. Like 1984, "Fahrenheit 451" describes what could have happen had the non-democratic forces taken over the world. The will of humanity would have been broken, people would be puppets in the hands of the goverment. Atomic wars are everywhere, the country lives from a war to a war.

Some points made by this book are acute - people are encouraged not to think, to have no free will. Schools mostly teach sports and TV is omnipotent, filled with what reminds today's empty talk shows. Books are prohibited, as they may remind people that free will exists. The communication between people is meaningless, small-talks leading nowhere.

A very original role is assigned to firemen in this book. Their goal is not to fight fires - fires are entertainment. Their work is to burn books. A siren sounds not when there is a fire, but when books were found in someone's house. The punishment for possession of books is severe - the person's house is burned and he's arrested. The main character is one of these "firemen", who discovers the beauty of books, aided by an old professor. The story is his quest against the "system". The book is quite short, so telling more will be a spoiler.

All in all, I really liked this book, it has some very strong messages and gives a lot of food for thought. I've also read some of Bradbury's short stories - the message is the same, highly influenced by the cold war. I'm not sure such books can be written now, long after the fall of the iron curtain. But it is still interesting to see how the future looked from the perspective Bradbury.


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