This classic starts off fanciful enough with the famous Lilliputian adventure. Each adventure gets more and more scathing in depicting human nature. I didn't quite expect it to be so graphic and incendiary because the only previous exposure to Gulliver was through cartoons. The cartoons, however, whitewash the novel to make them kid-friendly.
It is entertaining reading. I especially enjoyed the barbs at the people who completely forsake the things that work for their unproven, idiotic pet ideas (and the society that encourages it).
Apparently the Gulliver's Travels I read so many years ago was a cleaned-up kids' version, because this book was not nearly as fun as I remember it. Swift's satirical story of a man who happens upon strange lands is still entertaining, but this unabridged version includes all the long-winded commentary that was typical of books in his day. For scolars, and those who want the full experience of a classic, I would definitely recommend the unabridged edition, as it is a clever take on the world the way it once was (and in many ways still is). But for those simply looking for an entertaining story, without all the political and social commetary, I would suggest something edited more recently and aimed at younger readers.
The direct and unadorned narrative describes four remarkable journeys of ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver, among them one to the land of Lilliput, where six-inch-high inhabitants bicker over trivialties; and another to Brobdingnag, a land where giants reduce man to insignificance. Great literary read and a great classic.
A major portion of this unique book is concerned with the fantastic and impossible, but it also has a serious purpose and a kind of realism that perhaps no work before it possessed. For Gulliver's Travels is really to books, or two kinds of books, in one. There is indeed the satire, the critic's and reformer's attacks on things he wished to change, but there is also the marvelous story he told in which to embody it - a story filled with strange adventures and exploits, people and things such as no one ever saw with his waking eyes, and told in careful and convincing detail, with just the right touch of wit and subtle humor.
And it is, of cource, the "other" book in Gulliver's Travels that has made it the great favorite it has been, especially with young readers, ever since it first appeared in 1726.