From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
It is set in a society where censorship is prevalent, and moronic citizens learn only from television. Most books are banned and critical thought is suppressed. The central character, Guy Montag, is employed as a "fireman" (which, in this case, means "book burner"). 451 degrees Fahrenheit is stated as "the temperature at which book-paper catches fire, and burns …". It was originally published as a shorter novella, The Fireman, in the February 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. A film adaptation, by François Truffaut, was released in 1966, and another is anticipated. In addition to the movies, there have been at least two BBC Radio 4 dramatizations, both of which follow the book very closely.
The novel reflects several major concerns of the time of its writing: what Bradbury has called "the thought-destroying force" of censorship in the 1950s, the book-burnings in Nazi Germany starting in 1933, Stalin's suppression of authors and books in the Soviet Union, and the horrible consequences of the explosion of a nuclear weapon. "I meant all kinds of tyrannies anywhere in the world at any time, right, left, or middle", Bradbury has said.
Playhouse 90 broadcast "A Sound of Different Drummers" on CBS in 1957. The script, which was written by Robert Alan Aurthur, combined plot ideas from Fahrenheit 451 and Nineteen Eighty-Four; Bradbury sued and eventually won on appeal. A film adaptation written and directed by François Truffaut, starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie was released in 1966.'