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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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1984 Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Today Kellyanne Conway announced that we were given alternate facts. Shades of changing the past and controlling the present
Get ready to party like it's 1984
Another worthwhile book is "A Nation of Sheep" by William J. Lederer
I am glad I did. I no longer view it as a frightening vision, as I consider the scenario depicted impossible. I view the work as an indictment of the Soviet Union employing the satirist's tactic of exaggeration to heighten the critique. By envisioning a world even worse than the USSR, increasing its horrors in every area and manner, Orwell managed to rebut the Union's liberal apologists too timid to condemn Stalin, afraid doing so would discredit socialism. His master stroke was in setting the system in England, showing the World what such a system would look like in the "Western" world, not someplace foreign to his target audience. Orwell forced English and American readers to confront the awful possibility, to face the harsh facts of such a system that they might not welcome it but work to prevent it.
Now I find *1984* enjoyable, particularly Julia and O'Brien. Winston is good, but they are great.
It's as if Orwell has reached into the future and touched the mood of the present. One can connect with ease Orwell's cautionary dystopia to the depredations of American privacy that have surfaced in just the last couple of years. Much of 1984's quirky "Newspeak"--terms like thoughtcrime, doublethink and Big Brother--have been absorbed into the modern idiom. Among the rarefied collective of the greatest writers the English language has ever known, George Orwell painstakingly crafted a penetrating, prophetic tale, a world within a world, a spiraling ideascape whose tendrils integrate seamlessly with the realities of modern life.
Here's a small sampling of the winged brilliance flanking the reader at every turn:
"He was a fattish but active man of paralyzing stupidity, a mass of imbecile enthusiasms - one of those completely unquestioning, devoted drudges on whom, more even than on the Thought Police, the stability of the Party depended." (p. 22)
"She had a bold, aquiline face, a face that one might have called noble until one discovered that there was as nearly as possible nothing behind it." (p. 66)
"Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." (p. 70)
"But there was still that memory moving round the edges of his consciousness, something strongly felt but not reducible to definite shape, like an object seen out of the corner of one's eye." (p. 122)
"To hang on from day to day and from week to week, spinning out a present that had no future, seemed an unconquerable instinct, just as one's lungs will always draw the next breath so long as there is air available." (p. 152)
"What opinions the masses hold, or do not hold, is looked on as a matter of indifference. They can be granted intellectual liberty because they have no intellect." (p. 210)
Recommended companion reading:
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
- Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman (1985)
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