Where do I begin with Animal Farm? I first read about it in the context of politics of today. At the time, I had vague notions of what it was about. I had already read 1984, another (and the most prominent) novel by George Orwell. I had similar aspirations for Animal Farm.
Turns out, that Animal Farm is set as a great essay taking the guise of animals (and personifying them), and using them to critique human society. Although much of it can be seen as a viewpoint against socialism, the novel goes much much beyond that. It has brilliant themes, and is one of the wittiest and complete pieces of works I've come across. Parts of it reminded my of Atlas Shrugged (the philosophical arguments). I remember much of the arguments that I had in my mind, though I do not recall the individual circumstances.
George Orwell uses great wit to use animals, as when required, they take humanistic tendencies and personalities, but at the same time, as animals, they can be shown in much lower lights. The book is brilliant in that it insults the entire mankind into shame while never saying it. Not even hinting it. The way animals take over the farm, and give rise to power-hungry overlords who are animals themselves is a very broad observation of human politics. It isn't all about socialism, because we see the capitalistic tendencies of wanting to maximise profit and comfort (of the upper class) though it can be argued that it is a socialistic tendency as well. The argument is certainly from socialism, in that every animal is equal, but there are the lurking shadows of capitalism in how the farm uses business tactics and overlooks comfort for profit. The book is brilliant enough to have another book written on it.