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1984 (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – Unabridged, July 1, 1950
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"Outside, even through the shut window pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no color in anything except the posters that were plastered everywhere."
The year is 1984; the scene is London, largest population center of Airstrip One.
Airstrip One is part of the vast political entity Oceania, which is eternally at war with one of two other vast entities, Eurasia and Eastasia. At any moment, depending upon current alignments, all existing records show either that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia, or that it has always been at war with Eastasia and allied with Eurasia. Winston Smith knows this, because his work at the Ministry of Truth involves the constant "correction" of such records. "'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"
In a grim city and a terrifying country, where Big Brother is always Watching You and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. He knows the Party's official image of the world is a fluid fiction. He knows the Party controls the people by feeding them lies and narrowing their imaginations through a process of bewilderment and brutalization that alienates each individual from his fellows and deprives him of every liberating human pursuit from reasoned inquiry to sexual passion. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.
Newspeak, doublethink, thoughtcrime--in 1984, George Orwell created a whole vocabulary of words concerning totalitarian control that have since passed into our common vocabulary. More importantly, he has portrayed a chillingly credible dystopia. In our deeply anxious world, the seeds of unthinking conformity are everywhere in evidence; and Big Brother is always looking for his chance. --Daniel Hintzsche --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
"Orwell's best-known work of unrelenting dystopian realism warns against totalitarianism." --AudioFile --This text refers to the Library Binding 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
1984 tells the story of Winston Smith, a man who lives in THE totalitarian government, wants to fight back, and isn't entirely sure how. He is watched almost all the time, must be constantly on guard against showing dissent from the party, or else he will be disappeared. While he and similar characters aren't exactly brimming with personality, they don't need to be to make this book good.
The greatest thing about this book is the government itself. A common saying in this book is [paraphrased] 'he who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past'. Orwell goes into detail on how to accomplish this, and delivers on all of the horror, both stated and unstated, that goes along with it. The even more classic line 'War is Peace' is brought up, and explained in such a way that I even found it plausible in a severely twisted sort of way. And the worst part? All of this misery, terror, and oppresion? It's entirely believable that it could happen to us. The government doesn't need any sci-fi tech to take absolute control, and they don't need it. Heck, North Korea is doing something similar right now!
One minor thing I have to say I like is the prose. A lot the book I've read that are sixty years have a lot of archaic grammar and word choice. 1984 doesn't for the most part.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in classic literature, second only to 'Catch-22' in my list of books you should read. So, you know, buy it.
Another worthwhile book is "A Nation of Sheep" by William J. Lederer