The title Fahrenheit 451 represents the temperature at which paper burns.
Based on a 1951 short story, "The Fireman," the novel depicts a future America where television dominates culture and all books are banned. Montag, the main character, is a fireman, a member of an elite, Gestapo-like organization whose purpose is to seek out and burn the few books that remain.
Fahrenheit 451 makes no attempt to describe the workings of a totalitarian state. Instead, Bradbury is concerned with developing a parable of sorts about intellectual freedom. The novel can be seen as an attack on Senator Joseph McCarthy's early 1950s antiCommunist crusade, during which the senator and his supporters attempted to subject government workers, politicians, journalists, and artists to strict government scrutiny. In a broader sense, Bradbury addresses the issues of mass media induced illiteracy and antiintellectualism in general.