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Brave New World | [Aldous Huxley]

Brave New World

When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

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Publisher's Summary

When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.

©1932 Aldous Huxley; ©1998 BBC Audiobooks America; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"British actor Michael York's refined and dramatic reading captures both the tone and the spirit of Huxley's masterpiece." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-17-14 Member Since 2015

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

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    "Nowhere near as powerful as Orwell's 1984."

    Brave New World is often help up as being the partner of 1984. Both have different versions of dystopian futures where humanity loses its individuality to a faceless system that destroys independent thought.

    1984 stuck with me long after I read it, but Brave New World never touched me on an emotional level. I found it redundant, slow and boring. I also think that the book failed to make it's point.

    Huxley examines the world government that is based on control through pleasure-induced apathy, without ever providing evidence as to why it was a bad system. We're just supposed to take it on faith that it is. Art is gone, and passion is gone, even love is gone... which is appalling on its face. But that's a subjective reaction on the part of the reader. I love my family and I can't imagine being happy in world without families... but objectively, and undeniably these people ARE happy.

    What we don't hear about is the progress of the sciences outside of the sciences which support the system of control. Is humanity still exploring the universe? Are we learning and progressing as a species? In 1984, the answer to these questions was an obvious "no". Humans and humanity as a whole were getting stupider. In Brave New World we know they're being systematically cut off from literature and art... basically all the "humanities" subjects. But what about everything else?

    There is plenty to think about here, but while 1984 is a perfect 5-star book in my opinion, Brave New World falls short. Still an important read, and an interesting cautionary tale.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 08-04-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 08-04-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "BRAVE NEW WORLD"

    “Brave New World”, by Aldous Huxley, is a dystopian view of the world that describes the potential consequence of idolatry, media conditioning, and drug dependence.

    Huxley’s atheism peeks through the pages of “Brave New World”. His main character, the Savage, is raised in an Indian culture that venerates a god that stipulates what is good and evil. The Savage leaves this Indian culture to live in a “Brave New World” that believes in another god named “Ford”.

    The logical extension of Huxley’s primitive world is no better than a “Brave New World”. Dictatorship, the opiate of media entertainment and a drug culture are evident in both worlds.

    Huxley was one of those extraordinary human beings that have what Abraham Maslow called a “superior perception of reality”.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 01-24-14
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 01-24-14 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

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    "How did this become a classic?"

    There's no getting around it, Brave New World is a bad book. It's the story of a world where humans are engineered to fit a specific purpose and the engineering doesn't end after birth. The characters have come to accept this life, even the scheduling of their free time and the people they have relationships with, as normal. Our main character shifts halfway through the book to a man born on a reservation who is known as the savage. Then he comes into conflict with the New World.

    That's the plot, but here's the juice: it's boring. The characters never challenge the world, they rarely come into conflict with its boundaries, and frankly, they're boring. They don't grow or want to grow in any significant way. The conflict only happens when the savage comes to the city, and even then it's too little and way too late. Not only that, but Michael York is an okay narrator - but his American accent is atrocious.

    This stock is a definite Don't Buy.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason FPO, AP, United States 10-30-13
    Jason FPO, AP, United States 10-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great performance of this classic story"

    It had been a long time since I had originally read "Brave New World", and - as this title came up as a daily deal - I thought I'd take the opportunity to enjoy it once again.

    The story is still nearly as fresh and provocative as it was the first time I read it, albeit a bit tempered by the long years of reading and thinking about hosts of other utopian/dystopian societies.

    Still, if you're not familiar with this story of an engineered and conditioned society, it offers an interesting perspective on what it means to live a life worth living; and if it's been so long that it is only a faint memory, the theme and delivery still hold up and provide plenty of food for thought (and a fair share of pure entertainment, for that matter).

    There are very few mis-steps in the way of anachronistic "future" developments that might slightly distract you from the story, but overall the tale does not feel out-of-date and hold together quite well.

    The narration and production is superb, I can only complement the efforts of BBC Audio - the clarity of recording and the voice work come together for an excellent listening experience.

    If you are interested in utopian/dystopian speculative fiction, stories that examine what it means to be human and how we might accidentally subvert that, or just interesting "non-hard" SF, I would recommend giving this title a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 10-24-13
    John 10-24-13

    St. Louis, Missouri

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    "Hats Off to Aldous Huxley, Michael York & Audible"

    Huxley for writing the book, York for reading it and Audible for making books like this available in their Daily Deals. I would never have bought it had it not been on sale—and I would have missed an amazing work of literature as well as a fine audio performance.

    Like many people, Brave New World was always one of those books I meant to read. Whenever a new tech marvel hit the scene or a new question of medical ethics made headlines, a news writer somewhere was sure to make an allusion to the title of Aldous Huxley’s masterpiece. But that’s as far as my understanding of the book went: a nebulous sense that it presented a less-than-savory picture of some indefinite, but very possible, future.

    But as Mustapha Mond, the World Controller for Western Europe might say, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    In the interest of full disclosure, you need to know I was born and bred in Detroit. Hence, a good deal of my enjoyment of the book stems from the author’s complete agreement with my own estimate of Henry Ford. Yes, he made America mobile. Yes, that mobility was affordable. But delve into some of the man’s writings, sayings and methods and you understand what Huxley is driving at.

    One day Ford was walking through his factory when he noticed a pile of short wooden boards. Upon inquiring about them, he learned they were broken up packing cases that had contained auto parts; they were about to be thrown away. In a flash of ingenuity, he ordered the wood to be used as floorboards for his Model T’s.

    It’s a story that appeals to all our recycling instincts (that’s the way we’ve been conditioned, right?) But dig a little deeper. Behind Ford’s idea there lurks a sort of maniacal drive for complete and utter efficiency.

    It goes hand in hand with Ford housing his workers in barracks. Yes, they were clean, bright places to live. But they were also places where the workers could be supervised. Drinking was frowned upon for obvious reasons. Dancing was encouraged because Ford had some odd theory about its moral benefits. Random inspections were a normal feature of life.

    Then there’s the famous $5 a day wage. Accepted now as a humanitarian measure—so much more, we are told, than what other industrialists were offering the downtrodden proletariat. In actuality, the downtrodden proletariat only got $2.50 an hour—the other $2.50 was held back, to be paid at a later date if the workers’ behavior met Mr. Ford’s exacting standards.

    If none of this is giving you the chills, then you may not want to bother with Brave New World.

    There’s a photograph of Ford relaxing (if that was possible for him) in his home in Dearborn—incidentally, an architectural monstrosity of conflicting styles. In the background a piece of needlework proclaims: “He who chops his own firewood warms himself twice”. Ok, that’s true as far as it goes. But again there’s that maniacal drive for efficiency, an almost Uber-Puritanical focus on work—a focus that excludes all other considerations.

    Ford crystalized that focus with the infamous remark, “History is bunk”. The blowback from those words was so widespread he tried to atone by building Greenfield Village, the open-air museum that is as much a monument to himself and his friend Thomas Edison as homage to the past. Nevertheless, the unguarded remark reveals his true thinking.

    In Brave New World, Huxley takes that thinking and follows it out to its extreme, “logical” conclusion. I understand that there’s more underpinning the book than just the wit and wisdom of Henry Ford. For example, I sense a critique of our Declaration of Independence (why did Jefferson include “happiness” among our inalienable rights, rather than keep to the classic Whig triumvirate of life, liberty and property?) It’s a piece of our foundational rhetoric that, taken to its “logical” extreme, can be just as culturally destructive as Ford’s hatred of the past.

    So much for the roots of the book. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about how much of what Huxley imagined has actually come to pass.

    On top of a masterpiece you also get Michael York’s performance, which is simply extraordinary. And again, big kudos to Audible for making literature like this available at sacrifice prices—and here’s hoping they’ll do it again soon. Many of the blockbusting best sellers that usually make the Daily Deal are, as the Savage would point out if he were here, a far cry from Othello.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ESK Moscow, Russia 07-22-12
    ESK Moscow, Russia 07-22-12 Member Since 2011

    There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin

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    "Fantastic job!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Brave New World to be better than the print version?

    What a blasphemous question to ask!


    What did you like best about this story?

    It looks real. That's human nature never to learn from your mistakes.


    What does Michael York bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator did a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life. He had no problem with the female character as well.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I loved every minute of it. And to Michael York's credit, the experience will stick in my memory.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pita North Shore City, New Zealand 12-14-11
    Pita North Shore City, New Zealand 12-14-11
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    "Fascinating and unique classic novel, well read"

    Brave New World is Huxley's best known novel and a classic for good reason. This is a unique novel and a gripping expose on human nature. With overtones of Orwell's Big Brother this novel is set in a Utopia where the focus is on happiness, and where freedom and truth are removed from society. Huxley explores what happens when there is a clash with tradition ideals of moral obligation, religion, family, truth and free will.

    This is a novel that is well ahead of its time and the description of the world is very clever and the language and turn of phrase employed is wonderful.

    Micheal York really brings this to life with a masterful performance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RichInRI 03-22-10
    RichInRI 03-22-10 Member Since 2014
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    "i did not enjoy this presentation at all"

    as a matter of fact, i couldn't even finish the book. having read the book in my youth, i was looking forward to experiencing it again, but the manner in which the book was read grated on me. as much as i tried to look past the annoying presentation, i found myself becoming more and more annoyed. to say he least, it was an utter disappointment.

    30 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Salimata Arlington, VA, USA 12-31-08
    Salimata Arlington, VA, USA 12-31-08
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    "Reading can kill writing"

    This CD could put you right off this fundamental book.
    Personalized accents, hysterical shoutings, whinings, singings, supposedly used to bring life, don't bring anything, just make the book unbearable after a few minutes.
    Advice : (1) if you want to avoid irritation and reach the end, you should plan short listening sequences ; (2) never buy an audiobook without prior listening and comparing.

    31 of 48 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Dallas, Texas, United States 06-22-13
    Laura Dallas, Texas, United States 06-22-13 Member Since 2014
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    "It's a classic for a reason!!"
    Would you listen to Brave New World again? Why?

    Yes because I feel it serves such a strong warning against allowing the government to rule and regulate that which is inherently flawed and as a result, beautiful and perfectly created. When the government oversteps nature, a chain reaction ensues.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Brave New World?

    The detail the author provides leaves the reader which powerful imagery and leaves very little to the imagination in the sense the reader does not have to supplement with what might be false or misguided images. For example, when describing the hatchery, the author is certain to mention in detail the process and in essence sets up a great foundation for the reader to better understand the actions of those that stemmed from the hatchery.


    Have you listened to any of Michael York’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not but I had always "heard" this book in American English and it was brilliant to hear it in its native tongue if you will as the story is centered in London.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The narrator was very vivacious, animated and energetic. Some of the most touching moments included the dynamic of John and "Linder" or Linda.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this to everyone. This book is a good "starting point" for those getting into current affairs. This is a true foreshadow of events that have occurred that the author hit on years prior but a closer look reveals that "Big Brother" and conditioning are amongst us. To have free thought is to be a strong reader and this supports such. Happy reading!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Purple Tiger
    3/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "thoughtful"

    The story was interesting and it kept my attention. But the ending was a bit strange.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • spencerhudson
    1/22/15
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    "Wow ... Fantastic"

    This book is written about and cited as being amazing. Well now I understand why. You simply must read this book.

    It's possible to see so much of what follows has called upon what is written here. So many films and other books. Even down to the use of language

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edward
    12/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Interesting Story, OK Narration"
    Would you listen to Brave New World again? Why?

    It is worth a listen/read, but I wouldn't return to it.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Michael York does a good job of the general narration, but some of his accents are a little silly and don't really fit within the context of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall this is an enjoyable story. It deals with some interesting ideas, but does sound dated in places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    CHESHAM, United Kingdom
    11/24/14
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    "a sober trip like no other..."

    I will not write about the amazing insight, capacity for sociological and psychological elaboration and the utmost eloquence our Huxley has; many have said it before.
    I will also not confine my review to the narrator’s amazing style and how he both “acts” and “tells” the story like actors and storytellers of “once upon a time”… Instead, I would like to simply note that the combination of Huxley’s book and its telling by Michael York has produced a work like no other in its category. By far, this is the most enjoyable listen to an audio book I have ever had. A most serious book comically written without losing its seriousnesses and then acted to make you laugh, wonder, be confused, be fully emerged and then emerge feeling illuminated yet entirely perplexed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mj
    7/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "an interesting story of an alternative world"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Brave New World to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version but I have thoroughly enjoyed this audio version


    What other book might you compare Brave New World to, and why?

    A surprising read that I can not really compare with anything else that I have read.


    What does Michael York bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His voices/accents are great


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - I needed to digest it bit by bit.


    Any additional comments?

    A surprising and interesting book which I had been told, would shock me - it didn't.
    I have advised a great number of other people to get a copy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • PishPash
    Northampton, UK
    4/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hindered by high expectations"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes - give it a stronger story.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More an observation of imagined, alternative reality, and a selection of characters in the midst, rather than a captivating story. The 'story' element was far less interesting than the world in which it occurred, plodding through a series of interesting life circumstances. The world was fantastically well realised, the story itself disappointing. Something bent around an emergent revolution, consequence, and so on, might have appealed more than a series of, albeit amusing, incidents to provoke episodes of bewildered intolerance, and objection from it's diverse set of characters. It had something of a satisfying climax, but was largely repetitive and boring on route to it.


    What three words best describe Michael York’s performance?

    Dry, monotone, listless


    Do you think Brave New World needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes - same world, better story.


    Any additional comments?

    1984 is far better in my honest opinion. A very different sort of oppressive utopia, and a much better story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sigrin
    Valdisere, France
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing considering this was written in the 1950's"
    Where does Brave New World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Can not rank this type of book, but I can say its amazing to read Mr Huxley's insight into the future considering he wrote this some 60 years ago!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Brave New World?

    The drug Soma. Opiate for the masses like religion!


    Which character – as performed by Michael York – was your favourite?

    Lenina and her naivety


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes it made me rethink about the society we live in.


    Any additional comments?

    This should be a compulsory read in schools.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter Codner
    england
    1/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "not the brst reading"
    Would you try another book written by Aldous Huxley or narrated by Michael York?

    the definitive reading of this book was by Anton lesser , who read it for the bbl, the michael york reading is pisspoor/


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    by reading it badly


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    no. because the Anton lesser version is the best.


    Any additional comments?

    don't use audible, it's rubbish.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • kazza
    12/17/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Classic Well Read"

    It was many years since I had read this book and it was a good book to listen to and remember whilst I walked the dog along the sea wall. It was like visiting an old friend. There were parts that I still remembered, but others I had forgotten about. if you haven't read this, I would recommend you read it. If you have read it already, definitely worth revisiting and Michael York was a good choice as narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • SeaEagle1453
    UK
    8/20/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good reading of a classic"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Brave New World to be better than the print version?

    To be honest I preferred the print version, sorry.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John Savage, always the outsider and an innocent in a truly dystopian world.


    Which character – as performed by Michael York – was your favourite?

    John Savage, the character is just so well written.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are various points as Savage just can't get to grips with this world into which he has been thrust, ultimately with tragic results.


    Any additional comments?

    It is a good book and Michael York reads it well. My problem with it is my personal view of York as a more of a comic actor than serious and that mental image just stuck with me. The fault is mine rather than anything to do with York's narration which is very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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