The Pequod Review:
After two moderately successful works of non-fiction (The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia), George Orwell brought his anti-totalitarian politics to fiction with Animal Farm, a Trotskyist satire of the Russian Revolution. The book is a deceptively simple barnyard fable in which a group of farm animals — led by the pigs and especially a Marx-like boar named Old Major — overthrow their human owners and take control of the farm. But the corruptive influence of power leads the pigs to adopt many of the authoritarian practices they originally revolted against, and in the end the pigs turn out to be no better than the humans they deposed.
Orwell had difficulties getting this book published in Western countries, an ordeal that would give him a political education of his own. As he said later, “The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary.... Things are kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervenes but because of a general tacit agreement that 'it wouldn't do' to mention that particular fact.” It's a shame that Orwell died so young — only five years after writing this book, at age 46 — since this observation hints at subtler and more interesting directions his later work may have taken.