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War with the Newts
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War with the Newts

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  5,938 Ratings  ·  378 Reviews
What were the newts? They were called "devils" by the natives, when Captain Van Toch first discovered them near an island off the coast of Sumatra. A little known species of salamander, they were the size of a ten-year-old boy, with a parrot-like capacity to repeat human speech, and a beaver-like talent for building dams.
No one could have predicted that these strange crea
Paperback, 241 pages
Published 1971 by Berkley Medallion S1404 (first published 1935)
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Faking News! Newts Trump Humans!

I'd become rather blasé when it comes to apocalyptic science fiction. I thought I knew them all, those brave new worlds that writers invent to symbolise the immediate danger of human self-destruction out of sheer stupidity?

Think again, Lisa!

The newts invited me to the ultimate, unexpected, completely logical fantasy, containing it ALL. Welcome to a roller coaster of the hilarious kind!

Does it start with the end of the world as we know it, with the destruction of E
H.M. Ada
Aug 09, 2015 H.M. Ada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A Dutch sea captain discovers intelligent, human-sized newts in a remote island bay.

So he does what anyone would do and tells somebody with money. The Newts are then put to work building harbors and extending coastlines, and hilarity ensues. Well, for the most part. There is a war at the end of this book. Racism is also a major theme, both directly and allegorically through humanity's treatment of the Newts.

The humor is sarcastic and in a few places dark. It skewers all elements of society: in
Nov 07, 2015 Lilo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who has enough working brain cells to understand satire
Recommended to Lilo by: Charley Ada

Satire is my favorite genre. And this book is a gem.

Nowhere have I ever found a better description of homo sapiens’s boundless greed, bigotry, stunning thoughtlessness, and utter stupidity.

This book leaves no parts, levels or facets of society unscathed. Karel Capek satirizes science, academia, education, business, politics, fascism, communism, militarism, law, religion, philosophy, racism, journalism, and just about every trait of human nature one can think of. Yet it isn’t all funny. It is als
Jul 24, 2011 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy and science-fiction fans, the oppressed and downtrodden and newts everywhere
Great fun.

The story of mankind's downfall and destruction as caused by human hubris.

The tensions and ambitions of Imperialist Europe find new expression once a species of super-newt is discovered. This is expressed in Oswald Spengler style musings and a re-imaging of the super-newts as having the characteristics of the empires that employ them. To the surprise of all the newts eventually turn against the humans, but in a nice touch they hire human lawyers to represent their interests at the pea
Tyler Jones
1985 was the worst year of my life. The previous summer our family had moved from Calgary to Saskatoon and I had left behind a group of very close friends. I had just graduated high school and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I would rather go to school than get a job, so for perhaps the first time in my life I really applied myself academically in a last ditch effort to get accepted into University. I pulled off a 99% in a summer school Chemistry class, which must ...more
MJ Nicholls
Having impulsively nabbed this from the library, to return home and see Robert’s tip about reading a later translation (Penguin Classics ed. is a facsimile of the Weatherall from 1938, replete with arcane spellings), I entered the novel wearily, to be won over by the first-rate Swiftian brilliance pirouetting from each page like Darcey Bussle doing The Hustle. Making use of newspaper clippings, excerpts from academic studies, letters to the editor and so on in the second book, the novel is also ...more
A Dutch captain discovers giant talking newts on a remote island and teaches them to use tools, fight off predators, and collect pearls for him. They are eventually exploited by international corporations and the newts challenge man's place at the top of the animal kingdom.

Capek covers a multitude of issues and subjects in this wonderful satire -- capitalism, militarism, racism, and even Hollywood. A great read!
Jan 25, 2017 Linh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Một kiệt tác của thế kỷ 20. Thật ngạc nhiên là lại quá ít người biết tới Karel Capek như vậy. Tác phẩm châm biếm gần như tất cả mọi thứ trào lưu của thế kỷ 20: chủ nghĩa tiêu thụ, chủ nghĩa phát xít, chủ nghĩa thực dân, chủ nghĩa cộng sản, bài Do Thái, các loại giả-khoa-học, chạy đua vũ trang...

Chỉ một loài lưỡng thê có tên là sa giông mà người ta có thể hình dung về tương lai (và nhớ lại về quá khứ) của loài người: Số phận của sa giông, khi thì làm người ta nhớ tới người da đen, khi thì là thân
Quân Khuê
Jan 16, 2017 Quân Khuê rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Xuất sắc về mọi nhẽ.
One of the most enjoyable books I ever read, and definitely only one distopia I really ever liked.

Main concept of this book was repeated many many times after, for example in Starship Troopers. Goverment finds a public enemy, moves it ahead, unleashes society and mass-media on it, eventually organizes a war against it...Heroes, tragedies, war crimes.. for what? Newts!
(well we could find examples of this not only in literature, won't we).

BUT, as oppossed to We or 1984 this book is INCREDIBLY fun
Oct 14, 2015 [P] rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
A few years ago a friend of mine sent me an email containing a link to a newspaper article. This article referred to the discovery of, if I remember correctly, a previously unknown type of lobster. Underneath the article my friend had written: ‘How long before this ends up on a plate in some restaurant?’ To which I replied with something like: ‘They’ll probably dissect it or fuck it first.’ It has long been a running joke between us that with anything we – by which I mean human beings – encounte ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Krbo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
humor, parodija, satira, ironija, komedija...

nema čega nema u ovom genijalnom djelu, nema ikoje nezgodne ljudske osobine koju nam Čapek nije primjereno nabio na nos.

jako ugodan čitanjac, drago mi je da sam se podsjetio i svima apsolutno preporučujem.

1936. godina, a tako svježe i primjenjivo i dan danas

više od 5
Apr 09, 2007 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Shelves: done-reading
Synopsis: Kapek wrote in the post-WW1 era. In the book, a sea captain finds a bay that harbors giant newts, about the size of a ten year old human, complete with digits and all. The newts are intelligent, and he trains them to capture pearls for him. Eventually, a company forms that sends the Newts to all parts of the world for slave labor. Because of their intelligence (about equal to humans) and the training and supplies given them by man, the Newts spread all over the world (they get up to 70 ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Sokolik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Svět po první světové válce propadl iluzi, že udělal vše pro to, aby se už podobné hrůzy neopakovaly. Avšak ve třicátých letech se stále více ukazovalo, jak byly tyto představy naivní. Svět naplno prožívá hospodářskou krizi, a mnoho lidí hledá podporu v extremistickych hnutích, jak by se daly nazvat všechny ty ...ismy na vzestupu. A právě takové společnosti nastavuje ve svém románu Válka s mloky Karel Čapek zrcadlo. Nabízí světu nový způsob, jak se vymanit z krize, zlepšit blahobyt všech. Avšak ...more
Đông Huynh
Tôi nhớ trong một tiểu luận Milan Kundera từng nói đại ý: "Một cuốn tiểu thuyết nếu không làm ta cười, thì cũng không còn mấy ý nghĩa". Nếu bạn từng đọc M.K nhiều, sẽ hiểu ông đánh giá cao tiếng cười, sự hài hước và châm biếm như thế nào. Xét trên tinh thần này, thì không có gì ngạc nhiên khi M.K dành những lời bình luận có cánh như vậy cho K.C.
Jan 03, 2017 Nguyễn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the thing about this book is how the author effortlessly brought up metaphors and stuff by just some small details, some comic conversations or by just describing things. the language is extremely visual it reminds me of my own writing lol. but this one is better admitedly. it's too comic at times but totally likable.
the way it randomly jumped from a usual narration to a kind of journal language or even a scientific paper dead plain voice is extremely fresh. i mean, i came up with this idea of a
Tao Đàn
Jan 03, 2017 Tao Đàn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
không gì thuộc về con người mà xa lạ với Karel Čapek!
Als Klassiker angepriesen (ich kannte es vorher nicht), war es ein willkommener Quartalskauf bei der Büchergilde. Die Beschreibung im Buchkatalog klang dermaßen interessant, dass ich mir dachte: das muss ich mir jetzt echt mal geben!

Und es hat sich wirklich gelohnt!
Eine Perle im Literaturmeer (um beim Thema zu bleiben), die nicht nur für reine Lesefans etwas zu bieten hat, sondern auch noch für den Grafikliebhaber und dem Kenner von besonders gelungenem Layout. Sogar die Schriftart orientiert s
Mar 25, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant book. This book is one of the high peaks between Swift and Twain and later broad scale social critics in fiction such as Kurt Vonnegut. Published in 1936 it takes it chops up a broad sample of contemporary politics, culture and values. Most of what it has to say about mankind and its collective arrogance holds up today with astounding clarity. This book has not dated at all in any significant way.

The book is about the discovery of an intelligent species of water dwelling beings appa
Capitalists seeking downward pressure on wages create their antithesis in the form of effective slave labor force that very predictably revolts and supersedes them.

First third is episodic, almost low farce. We know the poor newts are in for it when the guy who ‘discovers’ them refers casually to “nigger superstitions” (12) and “realized that the honor of the white race was now at stake” (14). Discoverer goes to investor in order to obtain backing for his plan to exploit newt labor, which investo
Lorenzo Berardi

It may not be a conventional Czech or Slovakian speciality, but a válka s mloky is an excellent and tasty alternative to the unbearable lightness of being when a metamorphosis into an engineer of the human souls is too loud a solitude.

Preparation time: 1936-1937
Cooking time: approximately 3 days

You will need:
- An aquarium
- An atlas reporting the pre World War II borders
- Around 100 newts of both genders
- Sea salt
- Lemon
- Mayonnaise
- Biscuits in crumbs
- Granny Smith apples
Jose lana
Karel Capek 1890-1938 was a comtemporary of Kafka, both lived in Praga but rather obscured by this .This novel is her most knwon work,written in 1936 the year that began the Spanish civil war.The book is a history of the human stupidity;wrriten with touchs of black humour it is a satira of allmost all aspects of our civilization:the nationalism,the greed of comercial and industrial corporations,the sistem of justice,the militarism,the destruction of natural environement,the racism ,the xenofobia ...more
Sep 10, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: think_galactic
Shelves: sci-fi, historical
Between the two World Wars, Čapek wrote a biting satire about modern government and society. Told in a series of vignettes, Čapek takes on racism, colonialism, nationalism, capitalism…Unfortunately, there’s no real plot, every one of the characters are loathsome, and the scenario is so disgusting and dumb as to be ridiculous rather than horrifying.
Jul 07, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange mixture of satire, science fiction and cautionary tale -- an obvious statement about the rise of Nazi Germany, but aside from some old-fashioned language, there were many similarities to today's world. The chapter entitled "Earthquake in Louisiana" was particularly eerie, in light of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The book was slow-going in places but I would recommend it.
Nguyen Huy Tu Quan
Thông qua câu chuyện về sự thay đổi của xã hội con người trong thời đại Sa giông, tác giả cố gắng đả kích rất nhiều thứ thuộc về con người, mà số ít tôi còn nhớ có thể kể ra đây như: lòng tham lam, tính vị kỉ; sự chia rẽ nhân loại thành các giai cấp, dân tộc và quốc gia; nền khoa học, tôn giáo, triết học; các thể loại tôn giáo và ý thức hệ;...

Tuy nhiên, tham vọng lớn của tác giả có vẻ không thành công lắm:
*190 trang đầu tiên hầu như không có điểm nhấn, mạch truyện chậm rãi không cần thiết.
*Rồi n
Czarny Pies
Oct 26, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to understand how America armed ISIS.
Recommended to Czarny by: Lucie Nowak
Shelves: czech-lit
Save The War with the Newts for a time when you need a laugh. It will keep you in stitches from beginning to end. Once the laughing is over, you can add it to your "read" list on Good Reads on your "Great Classics of European Literature" and "masterpieces of satire" shelves. The newt is a remarkable fable that seems to describe the conflict for colonies that France, England and Germany waged in Africa in the second half of the nineteenth century and the bloody wars they fought on European soil i ...more
May 05, 2016 Pečivo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: svíčková
Hlavní ponaučení, který jsem si z Čapka vzal, je nehonit si ho do moře.

Bohužel nemohu dát plnej počet, protože Čapek v týhle knize používá zápatí takovým stylem, že jsem musel obracet stránky stále dopředu a dozadu. Nesčetněkrát se totiž stalo, že v zápatí se příběh táhne na 4 půlstrany. A to je v dnešní době prostě nepřípustné. Proto taky Čapek musel odejít - sofistikovaný čtenář totiž tohle nestrpí. Je to stejně nesnesitelné jako používání číslic a speciálních znaků v heslech na wifi. Drzost.
Funniest book, evah (yes, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - for Adams couldn't resist himself and so the joke finally ran dry).

Though quite possibly the saddest too.

If you could read only one book of fiction in your whole life, this is it.
Aug 06, 2010 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-me
I think the official story that this book was published in 1936 is a clever hoax designed to confuse future historians.
Dáša Beníšková
Učíš se o tom, Čapkovi věnuješ celej seminář na vejšce, přečteš si o tom odborný literatury, kolik jen z Klementina v baťohu uneseš, uděláš zkoušku, ale stejně.. Jakmile se s ním setkáš osobně a ponoříš se do příběhu, stejně tě překvapí, že to má sílu jak vývar z celý krávy.
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Karel Čapek is one of the the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Čapek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. His play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) first popularized the word "robot".
More about Karel Čapek...

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“It suddenly occurred to me that every move on the chessboard is old and has been played by somebody at some time. Maybe our own history has been played out by somebody at some time, and we just move our pieces about in the same moves to strike in the same way as people have always done.” 12 likes
“It is a well–known fact that the greater a man is the less he has on his door–plate.” 8 likes
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