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George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century, making famous Big Brother, newspeak and Room 101. 'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past'. Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

"1984 is not only a classic of dystopian fiction, but one of the most influential works of fiction ever written." Fantasy Book Review logo logo

Reader reviews

from US


George Orwell was a seer, or at least he appears to be so. The parallels are astounding to the age of today when the State gains power and uses all factions of media to mold the thinking of it's citizenry. "Speech Crime", "Thought Crime", are punishable by death, histories of major and minor events are continuously rewritten to serve the State. Will Smith works for the "Ministry of Truth" and we find our protagonist well adept at his job rewriting captions for photos, changing a line here and there of past news stories. It's a society where it's almost impossible to keep a secret, your motives are constantly under scrutiny if you don't show up for "The week of hate", or if you aren't a member of this club or that club. Children are encouraged to be in a young spies club and turn in their parents if they don't adhere to the proper protocols. Privacy is a forbidden thing, there is simply no such thing and if you are out of view of a telescreen for any length of time, then even that is suspect. The story begins when he enters his room and out of the telescreens view he begins to write in an old blank diary just a few sentences. Will Smith has just defied the State. Will he survive his rebellion? Will Big Brother (The State) be one step ahead of him? As he begins an affair with a woman who belongs to an "Anti Sex League" he rolls the dice as he explores his human needs, to connect with another person on a deeper level where privacy is a crime in itself. I think Orwell is warning us that when the Government gets too powerful it will regulate supply/demand, thought/media, time/history, thought/action, even sex/love. There are some disturbing parallels in this book in todays culture (U.S.) (U.K.) that the younger generations must take to heart before they fully resign themselves or their children to this fate. We have been warned by wiser noggins. I'm pleading with you young people to read this book before it's banned and it's too late. George Orwell really was a seer, some have that gift. A MUST READ! This is a warning to us how an all powerful Government who pretends to be like a big brother looking out for you ultimately takes control of every facet of your life. This my "Speech Crime" for the day and I didn't give out any spoilers for this insightful masterpiece. I cannot recommend this book enough, I've read it about twenty times already, maybe more. We are headed there, pick up some pointers if we can't avoid this fate.

from France


A must read. Powerful and unsurpassable, this is the apex of political fiction.

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