We

( 53 )

Overview

Before Brave New World...
Before 1984...There was...

WE

In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall. But one frontier remains: outer space. Now, with the creation of the ...

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Overview

Before Brave New World...
Before 1984...There was...

WE

In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is an ongoing process of mathematical precision, a perfectly balanced equation. Primitive passions and instincts have been subdued. Even nature has been defeated, banished behind the Green Wall. But one frontier remains: outer space. Now, with the creation of the spaceship Integral, that frontier -- and whatever alien species are to be found there -- will be subjugated to the beneficent yoke of reason.

One number, D-503, chief architect of the Integral, decides to record his thoughts in the final days before the launch for the benefit of less advanced societies. But a chance meeting with the beautiful 1-330 results in an unexpected discovery that threatens everything D-503 believes about himself and the One State. The discovery -- or rediscovery -- of inner space...and that disease the ancients called the soul.

A page-turning SF adventure, a masterpiece of wit and black humor that accurately predicted the horrors of Stalinism, We is the classic dystopian novel. Its message of hope and warning is as timely at the end of the twentieth century as it was at the beginning.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Before Huxley's Brave New World (1932), Rand's Anthem (1938), Orwell's 1984 (1949), and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953), there was We by revolutionary Russian novelist and playwright Yevgeny Zamyatin. Originally published in 1920, this dystopian classic was written in response to life in Stalinist Russia and envisions a future world where the all-powerful One State controls everything and everyone.

In the completely dehumanized world of We, there are no names, only designations. The protagonist, a mathematic philosopher identified as D-503, is nearing completion of the Integral, the great State machine's most ambitious project yet: a spaceship that will carry the divinely ordered and rational message of the One State to those intelligent beings living amongst the stars still "living in the savage state of freedom." But as the launch date approaches, D-503 meets and falls in love with a female revolutionary identified as I-330. Through a series of highly illegal encounters, I-330 introduces D-503 to a breathtaking new world, one completely hidden from the One State and filled with tolerance, individuality, imagination, love, and humor. Will D-503 fulfill his civic duty by confessing to the Guardians his unlawful involvement with I-330, or will he become part of her revolutionary scheme to destroy the One State?

After reading We, readers will be amazed by how strongly Zamyatin's dystopic vision influenced the aforementioned classics. Timeless, powerful, and still profoundly relevant after almost a century, this is a classic among classics. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
First published in the Soviet 1920s, Zamyatin's dystopic novel left an indelible watermark on 20th-century culture, from Orwell's 1984 to Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil. Randall's exciting new translation strips away the Cold War connotations and makes us conscious of Zamyatin's other influences, from Dostoyevski to German expressionism. D-503 is a loyal "cipher" of the totalitarian One State, literally walled in by glass; he is a mathematician happily building the world's first rocket, but his life is changed by meeting I-330, a woman with "sharp teeth" who keeps emerging out of a sudden vampirish dusk to smile wickedly on the poor narrator and drive him wild with desire. (When she first forces him to drink alcohol, the mind leaps to Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel.) In becoming a slave to love, D-503 becomes, briefly, a free man. In Randall's hands, Zamyatin's modernist idiom crackles ("I only remember his fingers: they flew out of his sleeve, like bundles of beams"), though the novel sometimes seems prophetic of the onset of Stalinism, particularly in the bleak ending. Modern Library's reintroduction of Zamyatin's novel is a literary event sure to bring this neglected classic to the attention of a new readership. (On sale July 11) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Zamyatin's 1924 futuristic novel, humankind has lost its individuality, and everyone is reduced to a number. Protagonist D-503, a mathematician for the One State, thinks he is going insane but actually is falling in love. Unfortunately for him, he's sweet on a revolutionary bent on overthrowing the government. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century." —-Irving Howe
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380633135
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1983
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REI
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 77,422
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Yevgeny Zamyatin was born in Russia in 1884. Arrested during the abortive 1905 revolution, he was exiled twice from St. Petersburg, then given amnesty in 1913. We, composed in 1920 and 1921, elicited attacks from party-line critics and writers. In 1929, the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers launched an all-out attack against him. Denied the right to publish his work, he requested permission to leave Russia, which Stalin granted in 1931. Zamyatin went to Paris, where he died in 1937.

Mirra Ginsburg is a distinguished translator of Russian and Yiddish works by such well-known authors as Mikhail Bulgakov, Isaac Babel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Editor and translator of three anthologies of Soviet science fiction, she has also edited and translated A Soviet Heretic: Essays by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and History of Soviet Literature by Vera Alexandrova.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

First Entry

T0PICS:A Proclamation
The Wisest of Lines
A Poem

I shall simply copy, word for word, the proclamation that appeared today in the One State Gazette:

The building of the Integral will be completed in one hundred and twenty days. The great historic hour when the first Integral will soar into cosmic space is drawing near. One thousand years ago your heroic ancestors subdued the entire terrestrial globe to the power of the One State. Yours will be a still more glorious feat: you will integrate the infinite equation of the universe with the aid of the fire-breathing, electric glass Integral. You will subjugate the unknown beings on other planets, who may still be living in the primitive condition of freedom, to the beneficent yoke of reason. If they fail to understand that we bring them mathematically infallible happiness, it will be our duty to compel them to be happy. But before resorting to arms, we shall try the power of words.

In the name of the Benefactor, therefore, we proclaim to all the numbers of the One State:

Everyone who feels capable of doing so must compose tracts, odes, manifestoes, Poems, or other works extolling the beauty and the grandeur of the One

State.

This will be the first cargo to be carried by the In

tegral.

Long live the One State, long live the numbers,

long live the Benefactor!

I write this, and I feel: my cheeks are burning. Yes, to integrate the grandiose cosmic equation. Yes, to unbend the wild, primitive curve and straighten it to a tangent-an asymptote — a straight line. For the line of the One State is thestraight line. The great, divine, exact, wise straight linethe wisest of all lines.

1, D-503, Builder of the Integral, am only one of the mathematicians of the One State. My pen, accustomed to figures, does not know how to create the music of assonances and rhymes. I shall merely attempt to record what I see and think, Or, to be more exact, what we think (precisely so-we, and let this We be the title of MY record) . But since this record will be a derivative of our life, of the mathematically Perfect life of the One State, will it not be, of itself, and regardless of my will or skill, a poem? it will. I believe, I know it

I write this, and my cheeks are burning- This must be similar to what a woman feels when she first senses within herself the pulse of a new, still tiny, still blind little human being. It is 1, and at the same time, not 1. And for many long months it will be necessary to nourish it with my own life, my own blood, then tear it painfully from myself and lay it at the feet of the One State.

But I am ready, like every one, or almost every one, of us. I am ready.

Second Entry

TOPICS:Ballet
Square Harmony
X

Spring. From beyond the Green Wall, from the wild, invisible plains, the wind brings yellow honey pollen of some unknown flowers. The sweet pollen dries your lips, and every minute you pass your tongue over them. The Ups of all the women you see must be sweet (of the men, too, of course). This interferes to some extent with the flow of logical thought.

But the sky! Blue, unblemished by a single cloud. (How wild the tastes of the ancients, whose poets could be inspired by those absurd, disorderly, stupidly tumbling piles of vapor!) I Iove — I am certain I can safely say, we love-only such a sterile, immaculate sky. On days like this the whole world is cast of the same impregnable, eternal glass as the Green Wall, as all our buildings. On days like this you see the bluest depth of things, their hitherto unknown, astonishing equations-you see them even in the most familiar everyday objects.

Take, for instance, this. In the morning I was at the dock where the Integral is being built, and suddenly I saw: the lathes; the regulator spheres rotating with dosed eyes, utterly oblivious of all; the cranks flashing, swinging left and right; the balance beam proudly swaying its shoulders; the bit of the slotting machine dancing up and down in time to unheard music. Suddenly I saw the whole beauty of this grandiose mechanical ballet, flooded with pale blue sunlight.

And then, to myself: Why is this beautiful? Why is dance beautiful? Answer: because it is unfree motion, because the whole profound meaning of dance lies precisely in absolute, esthetic subordination, in ideal unfreedom. And if it is true that our forebears abandoned themselves to dance at the most exalted moments of their lives (religious mysteries, military parades), it means only one thing: the instinct of unfreedom is organically inherent in man from time immemorial, and we, in our present life, are only consciously....

I will have to finish later: the annunciator clicked. I looked up: 0-90, of course. In half a minute she'll be here, for our daily walk.

Dear O! It always seems to me that she looks exactly like her name: about ten centimeters shorter than the Maternal Norm, and therefore carved in the round, all of her, with that pink O, her mouth, open to meet every word I say. And also, that round, plump fold on her wrist, like a baby's.

When she came in, the flywheel of logic was still humming at full swing within me, and I began, by sheer force of inertia, to speak to her about the formula I had just established, which encompassed everything — dance, machines, and all of us.

"Marvelous, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yes, marvelous." O-90 smiled rosily at me. "It's spring."

Well, wouldn't you know: spring ... She talks ,about spring. Women ... I fell silent.

Downstairs, the avenue was full. In such weathers the...

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Zamyatin and the Rooster
Notes to Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
WE Record 1
Announcement
The Wisest of Lines
An Epic Poem
Record 2
Ballet
Harmony Squared
X
Record 3
Jacket
Wall
The Table
Record 4
Savage with Barometer
Epilepsy
If
Record 5
Square
Rulers of the World
Pleasant and Useful Function
Record 6
Accident
Damned "Clear"
24 Hours
Record 7
An Eyelash
Taylor
Henbane and Lily of the Valley
Record 8
The Irrational Root
R-13
Triangle
Record 9
Liturgy
Iambs and Trochees
Cast-Iron Hand
Record 10
Letter
Membrane
Hairy Me
Record 11
No, I Can't...
Skip the Contents
Record 12
Limitation of Infinity
Angel
Reflections on Poetry
Record 13
Fog
Familiar "You"
An Absolutely Inane Occurrence
Record 14
"Mine"
Forbidden
Cold Floor
Record 15
Bell
Mirror-like Sea
My Fate to Burn Forever
Record 16
Yellow
Two-Dimensional Shadow
Incurable Soul
Record 17
Through Glass
I Died
Hallways
Record 18
Logical Labyrinth
Wounds and Plaster
Never Again
Record 19
Third-Order Infinitesimal
A Sullen Glare
Over the Parapet
Record 20
Discharge
Idea Material
Zero Cliff
Record 21
An Author's Duty
Swollen Ice
The Most Difficult Love
Record 22
Frozen Waves
Everything Tends to Perfection
I Am a Microbe
Record 23
Flowers
Dissolution of a Crystal
If Only
Record 24
Limit of Function
Easter
Cross It All Out
Record 25
Descent from Heaven
History's Greatest Catastrophe
End of the Known
Record 26
The World Exists
A Rash
41 Centigrade
Record 27
No Contents - Can't
Record 28
Both Women
Entropy and Energy
Opaque Part of the Body
Record 29
Threads on the Face
Shoots
Unnatural Compression
Record 30
The Final Number
Galileo's Mistake
Wouldn't It Be Better?
Record 31
The Great Operation
I Have Forgiven Everything
A Train Wreck
Record 32
I Do Not Believe
Tractors
The Human Chip
Record 33
(No Time for Contents, Last Note)
Record 34
Those on Leave
A Sunny Night
Radio-Valkyrie
Record 35
In a Hoop
Carrot
Murder
Record 36
Blank Pages
The Christian God
About My Mother
Record 37
Infusorian
Doomsday
Her Room
Record 38
(I Don't Know What Goes Here, Maybe Just: A Cigarette Butt)
Record 39
The End
Record 40
Facts
The Bell
I Am Certain
Translator's Notes

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

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(27)

4 Star

(17)

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(5)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Yevgeny Zamyatin has a very interesting history himself. Being a

    Yevgeny Zamyatin has a very interesting history himself. Being a part of Russian Intelligentsia, he was a strong proponent of Russian revolutionary movement and a believer in "change" that was about to follow. While in England, he heard that the change is about to happen and Yevgeny rushed back, so that he could be part the movement to overthrow Czarist regime and create what he thought would have been a workers' paradise. Fast forward a bit and he started to realize that the change that he himself helped create was not at all what it was claiming to be and reality of that change created despot and despair. While the publishing and the media was not yet completely taken over by the new regime, he was able to publish and write several essays, but then further realizing that the regime is changing even more so, he was banned and even arrested for his ideological free voice.




    If you liked "Brave New World" and "1984", you will love this or actually the other way around. "We" was published before the other two and there are so many items here that were borrowed by Huxley and Orwell, it is not even a question of if, but obvious what and which portions were. Zamyatin creates a One State society in his novel "We", where everyone and everything is for Benefactor's sake and for the "happiness" of the citizens. The wall around the city doesn't just protect those from outside getting in, but also for those inside for being "happy". Here we see strong resemblances of the same picture perfect anti Utopian "Utopia" as in "Brave New World". We see rationing and partnership assignments, if you will, just like in Huxley's novel, and many parts, which I am sure Huxley decided to "borrow" from "We". Also, there are many examples of despot and punishment, social behavior and work related previsions as we see in "1984" later. My guess is as such. Since Soviet Union was not big on world copyright laws, and the fact that some of Zamyatin's works were not officially published until 1980s and even 90s, that both Huxley and Orwell had an opportunity to reviewing those works. Lesser in popularity of all three of those anti Utopian novels, "We" however does present a great example, interesting and clever plot on the society that is "great" in theory, but not so in reality. 




    Zamyatin is a great visionary and this book, scary enough, could have been a road map for despots to use. "Freedom or happiness, but if you are free, you can't be happy" - We, Zamyatin. Also, the numerous examples of how "chaotic" the free world is and was, in what "We" refers to as in ancients' way of life. Freedom caused crime and war according to One State and Benefactor. It seems that by associating freedom with all the "evil" in the world, the Benefactor and Guardians are able to create this "perfect" happy world that is not free, but "happy". 




    Overall, I really enjoyed reading this first of the three great anti Utopian novels. It is a wonderful example of both fiction and the author's reality, how utopia only exists in theory, but in reality people do want and do strive for freedom to make their own decision and their own choices. Zamyatin's life, is a perfect example of to be careful of what you wish for and out of the three, he is the only author who actually wrote his work while living in completely despotic society. Highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys this genre.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    WAY ahead of its time.

    Like a refreshing breath of air, I chanced upon We as I was drowning in all the trashy sci-fi that has been filling shelves as of late.
    To say it simply, We is the best science fiction novel I have ever read (and I have read my fair share). It has, in its 203 pages, a story of a simple man who worships his government with a wild abandon, until the day when he contracts an awful and uniquely human condition.

    We is a prime, perhaps the greatest, example of a Dystopian novel: it in many ways sets the groundwork for ALL dystopian stories to come. In it we read elements of famous books to come, such as Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. But. but there is something more, different, indescribable about We that Zamyatin could never have planned: a magic that resides in between the words.

    That being said, We is also one of the most exclusionary books I have read as well. While I fully believe that this book has never achieved the popularity and success that it should have, shared by 1984 and Brave New World, I can truly understand why: We is written as the journal of a mathematical genius, and his view of nature as "some big equation, yet to be solved" leaks heavily into his journal entries and this, coupled with his conflicting ideas about himself and his surroundings, does not make a welcoming environment for the everyday reader.

    I highly recommend this book, but only to those hardcore sci-fi buffs and intellectual book-club readers that can wade through it. If it can be tolerated, or better yet appreciated for what it is, then We could be your next favorite-book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    one of my top ten books of ALL TIME.

    I really won't get into it here. "We" is a book that you have to read to understand why I feel this way. If you remember reading dystopian novels in high school, I can guarantee that your teacher missed this jewel. A precursor and inspiration to 1984 and Brave New World, this book makes Ayn Rand's Anthem look like a kids book. (not to mention that I believe that her book is a blatant rip of the subject book.) Zamyatin's genius truly shines in this short but well thought out piece of anti-Stalinist writing, that transcends (as all good books do) time and space.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Undoubtably one of the greatest things I've ever read

    We is such a perfect novel that to sum it in such a small area such as this would be a great injustice to the magnitude of this novel's quality. Simply put: We is, hands down, one of the single greatest works of literature ever written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005

    A classic

    WE is a true classic and an extraordinary novel in many senses. It was the inspiration behind George Orwell¿s book 1984, and other subsequent books of the utopian/dystopian sub-genre, such as UNION MOUJIK, BRAVE NEW WORLD. The age-old conflict between individual self and the collective being that man has grappled with in our efforts to become more human is treated beautifully in thus book. What is peculiar about it is that the author never allowed politics to dominate. Overall, the Utopian-Fantasy is a recommended read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Awful ebook conversion

    I'm sure this book is great, but the ebook version is absolutely terrible. By far the worst conversion I have ever read. Words missing, haphazard punctuation, letters merged or omitted...all of this, several times per page. Truly awful.

    Do yourself a favor and either pick another "We" ebook version or just buy a hard copy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    A must read

    Written in the aftermath of the Bolshvik revolution, this intriguing novel is as relevant today as it was when it was written. The cult of conformity and subversion of critical thinking and introspection are still alive and well. "We" is a prescient tale and carries lessons that we need to re-learn today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2012

    Anonymous

    Fantastic! Thought it might read a little dated, written in the early 20th century. Not at all. Sucker for the dystopian novels, and this is the mother & the father of them all

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    Pretty good

    This book is only good if you are interested in this sort of stuff.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Brenda

    Hey

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Jett

    I

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Tim

    Hello

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2006

    WE,, the first, not the Best

    After a two-hundred year war, only 2/10ths of one percent of the Earth's population emerges into a society encircled by a Green Wall topped by an invisible electric shield, and ruled by the rarely seen totalitarian known as The Benefactor. So regimented is this world that its citizens must spend substantial time each day marching in regimented lockstep around the plaza. 'Pink tickets' are issued so that previously unknown-to-each-other couples may, with the blinds down, copulate for up to one hour. A mere sixty minutes each day is allowed for personal time, curfew is at 10pm, families are not permitted and smoking and alcohol are illegal. In addition to every window blind being in the raised position twenty-four hours per day, all the buildings, walls within those buildings, stairs and tables are made of clear glass. This is so that government officials can always keep their citizens in clear view. Each sex-segregated dormitory building has a trusted monitor who opens, reads, and distributes the incoming mail of all its residents. The book is presented as the diary of mathematician and space ship builder D-503, but don't let that format keep you from reading it. However, what may deter you from reading the book, is the fact that many times I found it is almost impossible to understand what, where or who to the action was happening. After substantially slowing my reading speed, I was able to savor some fine writing, but my comprehension did not improve much, and I was not enthused enough to re-read the previous many chapters. WE like Orwell's 1984, is a story of a government that controls absolutely everything, however unlike Orwell's book, WE may generate a migraine but not a nightmare.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2003

    The Granddaddy of all Negative Utopias

    If you liked 1984 and Brave New World...this is a must by the great Russian writer Zamyatin....and this is definitely a top notch translation....you can't go wrong with this one...it will keep you on the edge of your seat and you will not be able to put it down.....this is the best of the Dystopia genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2002

    Thought Provoking and Enlightening

    This book offers an interesting interpretation of the future. Values of that society can serve as metaphors for the way we are living today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 1999

    Precursor to 1984

    If you thought '1984' (especially the movie version) and 'Farenheit 451' were depressing, wait til you read 'We'. Yevgheny Zamyatin's Bolshevic-era novel looks at love, society, and control with such a harsh view that it was banned for years in Russia. The protagonist, a mathematician, and his mate want to do things a bit differently in a society where everything is the same. The people genuinely live in glass houses (everything is see-through), and the super-Soviet style society controls all. The characterizations are excellent, and the quality of the novel exceptional for futuristic fiction. Is the ending tragic, or depressing? Is there hope for the future? You decide after this excellent read.

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    Posted March 5, 2011

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    Posted August 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 23, 2009

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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