Was Orwell a prophet, or what? If you've never read this modern classic of "negative utopia", you may well be shocked to find how profoundly it resonnates with the political climate of today. A must-read (or re-read!) cautionary tale.
A starteling novel that notes the surreal events of a future where the government not only controls life, but watches your every move. (Think the patriot act on some serius steroids) This book will make you wonder about what the media is and is not telling us.
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
My definition of a truly classic novel is one that is so talked about and referenced that you can know all about the book and it's message without having ever actually read it. 1984 is one of the most glaring examples of this, as terms such as "Big Brother" and "Doublespeak" are now mainstream concepts that no longer require explanation.
The book itself gained its popularity, however, by successfully reaching a broad audience by exaggerating and reducing the complicated debate of the illusion of free will and freedom of thought in any kind of government structure that strives to control and manipulate the populace for its own benefit in an almost unbelievable science fiction setting. The extremes that are reached in 1984's may seem only possible in a work of fiction, yet there is a truth beneath the pulp novel trappings that most readers can not avoid recognizing.
Note: For those who have already read this, I have a suggestion. Read 1984 again, only assume that the book actually takes place in our modern times, and that the narrator is a paranoid schizophrenic.
1984 is an intellectual read. Don't pick it up unless you have time to really absorb it. I was amazed at the way that Orwell dug into human nature and exposed a horrifying future. Although this is NOT a horror novel, it may be the scariest book I've read!
In "1984" George Orwell warned us about totalitarian control of the masses through revisionist history, perversion of the meaning of words, and relativism. While the urgency of his warning may have diminished with the fall of totalitarian communism, it's still relevant today in ways Orwell might not have anticipated.
At first I didn't like this book, but the more I read the more I grew to like it. It's definitely an awesome book, and it's so much about how the world is now, it's amazing. Considering it was written long before most of that stuff existed. It's awesome! Read it, read it NOW!
I think I read this book. That is, I have a memory of having spent some time with Winston Smith, Julia, O'Brien and the others but of course I can't be sure those memories are real or just a figment of my imagination, or perhaps planted there by the thinkpol (Thought Police to those of you who don't know Newspeak and may still be hung up in oldthink). You may find that hard to accept, especially if you don't live here in the Imperial Valley where martial law dominates, where one cannot travel into or out of the valley without being stopped and examined by the Border Patrol, where one cannot even go for a walk in one's rural neighborhood without danger of being stopped and asked for identification, but the insidious encroachment of this latest version of George Orwell's nightmarish vision may soon reach your neighborhood and then you'll understand.
You'll understand that this book, written so long ago (1949) and probably (if the "experts" like Erich Fromm can be believed) as a warning about the dangers of communism, is still a viable prognostication of what our own world is about to become even now that communism is no longer a viable social force. You'll understand the suggestions about the 'class struggles' of former societies only continue to recycle themselves so that we are bound to repeat them over and over again. Of course if you are, like me, one of the 'proles' you won't care because what the Inner Party (ruling class) does is of no concern to you. I don't care. I love Big Brother. I'm glad he's taking care of us and protecting us from dangerous aliens. And if I have to give my life to the cause, if I have to keep re-writing history so that Big Brother can never be proven wrong, if I have to remain celibate so that I won't produce any offspring who might become more precious to me than Big Brother, that's little to offer for the peace of mind I have. At least I think it's peace of mind. I mean, if Big Brother says I'm happy, then I'm happy, right?
I have no legitimate excuse to justify the fact that it's taken me 30 years to read this book. Perhaps I could blame it on the small town, backwoods high school I went to for the fact that they did not cover it within their curriculum? Or perhaps I can blame myself for going to a technical college where I spent the vast majority of the time studying the language of operating systems (which are now obsolete mind you) rather than cracking open a few classics for a required English Literature course at a "normal" school?
Regardless of where the blame is placed I finally decided that it was time to take the plunge and I'm glad that I did. I won't even attempt to write a proper review of a classic novel like this as I'll most likely just end up regurgitating what has already been said in countless other reviews over the years. In a nutshell (and a very tiny one at that) what I found most amazing about this book is that while it was written way back in 1949 it is incredibly pertinent to the world we live in today...which makes it all the more frightening.
That's all I got. So stop being a prole and read the damn book already. PaperBack Swap is watching you.
I have read this book over and over since 1984. It's different everytime I read it. It's a story that touches on our paranoias about the "future", but it also speaks to our ideas of what privacy and rights we are owed. The characters seem so foreign to our existence, but you can't help seeing our own daily life reflected in bits and peices throughtout the story.
I suppose this book has a lost a bit of its mystique since we are well passed the year 1984, but the themes are still chilling. Up until the very end, I found myself comparing the story with things that HAVE happened. "War is Peace" is one of the society's mantras in the book... reminds me of things that are happening today in our country. Of course, this book takes it to the extreme of a Negative Utopia. Good book. Really makes you think about what you believe and why you believe it.
What a book! So intense and thought-provoking. I love when a book can really make you feel all the emotions of the characters, like they're actually happening to you yourself--and this book did just that. Everybody living in America should have to read this book at some point or another. I loved it so much I might not re-post it! (sorry!)
One of my all-time favorite books. I get chills every time I re-read it. This book really makes you think "what if" government were to usurp that much control out of its citizens' hands??? While this tale is (obviously) fiction, the message it delivers is a scary reality check.
1984 is about an imagined future where government control is absolute and privacy is non- existent. The Party controls fact and reality, in so far as rewriting the past and making disagreeable thought- yes thought!- a crime. Individualism in any form is considered suspicious. Literature, art, music- all rewritten and distributed by the Party. Children are indoctrinated with the ideals of the Party and conditioned to accept Big Brother as infallible- even in contradiction. It is a society built on hate and fear with the sole purpose of maintaining the current structure of power.
I enjoyed the political tones of the book and Orwell's message. I was surprised that I found his arguments for both sides (individualism and collectivism) compelling. Although I do not believe the 'Free World' will ever see a society like this come to fruition, I do believe Orwell's vision is the blueprint of organized religion.
I suggest everyone read this book at least once (as I suggest with all of the classics). The storyline is somewhat predictable and flawed but the train of thought it elicits is certainly worth the read.
I didn't know much about this book until I saw it in the "banned book list" in the library and picked a copy. I vaguely know it has something to do with Big Brother and an Apple ad, but nothing else. (Nothing piques your curiosity like stamping "banned" on it, I can tell you.)
I'm glad I read it though. I think my perspective will probably differ somewhat from the typical American (Western) reader's, but I find the book rather amusing, especially the early parts. It reads like a satire to me, and many times I had to chuckle to myself "yeah, that's so true". It's like watching Saturday Night Live where everything is a slightly exaggerated spoof of the real thing. I grew up in a communist country, so I can appreciate a lot of practices mentioned in the book, for example the ever-watchful eyes around you, the banning of true romances, the need for Party-arranged marriage, the practices of unperson (including the act of removing references to someone from text or photos), the de-emphasis of personal feeling, the heavy bureaucracy, the adulation of the paramount leader, etc. (Although truth be told, on the last point the book probably pales compare to the current practice in North Korea). It's scary, it's suffocating, it's depressing, but it's so true. At first I thought that Orwell was so far ahead of his time, since at the time of the publication, there was no Asian communist countries to speak of. But now that I've read more about Stalin's USSR, I realize he got his inspirations from there. Still, pretty insightful book if you've never lived in that system before.
(Many people commented that it's a dystopian society in the future. Well I can tell you that there have been times in history in certain countries where it was very very close to being the reality. You should be thankful you're living in a society where you can afford to think it's way off in the future :)
Apart from the satirical content, I also find one idea very insightful (it's in the content of the little revolt book), and that is the suggestion of a 3-tier society, and how they've been interacting and probably will continue interacting till the end of time. I find it so funny, in fact I laughed out loud when I got there. Here you go, all the revolutionary thinkers and philosophers of the world, thinking their brain off (and at the cost of sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands, and sometimes millions of lives) about how to have a better society. And yet all they do is just to rehash and repeat what Mr Orwell has so clearly described before. It's what come closest to capture TRUTH compared to all the other things you see each day (Michael Moore, Occupy movement, Congress, Wall Street, the NK Kim Dynasty, Gengis Khan, the Russian Revolution, the French Revolution, even the American Revolution, and so on). Isn't it amazing?
The last thing I really like about the book is the love story. I love the love story. Some people will see it as cold, bleak, unromantic, etc, but I see it as having everything: warmth, tenderness, playfulness, longing, heart. It's love, period. Especially the girl, she's obviously been described by the author as "the girl of your dream". She's hard to come by, but if you happen to know her, try to grab her heart before it's too late.
This book really stretches the imagination about what could happen in our society. It wasn't my favorite book of all time, but I understand why it's such a classic. If I had read it during the time it was written, I would have been scared out of my wits! Happy reading. ;)
Great book! I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in politics and how it affects us. Pure fiction but sometimes it makes you think what our world would be like if this book were to come true.
I wanted to get into some classics this summer, and 1984 was the first I dug into. It truly was an amazing book of its time, moreso when facts about Orwell's life have come to life in the past decades. I lived through 1984, Orwell lived through the Russian Revolution, intense change in society in Europe from 1910 through the 1950s, World War 2, the Great Depression. One major overriding theme in this book is the lack of privacy, the reaching of society into every aspect of the individual's life. While we may scoff at the thought that our modern television, which exists in 99.9% of households around the world would be both a camera and a telescreen, we do have that now in the form of smartphones. Perhaps 1984 was more about 1948, and postwar Europe, the realization of what Stalin had done, of the costs of winning World War 2. In any case, it is a great book and deserves to be read and can continue to teach us so much.
Although the concept of big brother is fairly intimidating... I still recommend this book! As a reader, I experienced the same sense of "walking on eggshells" as the main character, constantly looking over his shoulder to see if he was being followed or watched!
I remember feeling very sad when reading this book in high school...the desperation and giving up one's most priceless possessions (memories) haunts me to this day. The isolation and control make me shudder even now. Good read, though, because it warns us of losing ourselves...or have we? ;)
A must read book! Great for just about any interest and reading level. This book shows us a world that could, one day, become our reality. Take the information to heart and enjoy its detail and quirks. I couldn't share any part of this story without ruining the experience but do take time to see the simularities in this futuristic world and what is happening today.
I think I fell in love with this from page one. I've always loved dystopian novels, and this - it was all so real. This was honestly a book I could not put down; I read it in under 24 hours. The image of society painted by Orwell is so realistic, you almost think it's possible that one day, life could become like that. 1984 society is, for lack of a better phrase, downright frightening, and this book is as much a rollercoaster ride of emotions as it is a text from which we can learn. Honestly, one of the best novels I've read in years.
I struggled reading this book. I couldn't figure out why they kept saying this book was a "classic". It seemed very dry. It wasn't until I finished the book and thought about it for 12 hrs or so that the book started to intrigue me. The notes and timeline in the Everyman's Classics were really helpful. I think this is one of those books that stick with you and make you think long after you put it down. That is the true appeal to this book.
I had read it back in jr hi school in 1952 (thought back then that the year 1984 was so far off I'd never live to see it). I found it just as amazing now to read the concepts he came up with back then. My 14 year old grandson is now reading it and, amazingly, he finds it fascinating too even with what he knows of all of today's technology!
I read this in high school but reread it for book club. I am so glad I did. In high school it was before the actual year 1984, that mixed with the fact that I was reading with the mindset of a teenager this reading was from a very different position. As a teen I was more interested in the first half, the life style, the relationships, the surroundings. As an adult, I found the second half, after his experience at the Ministry of Love, the way the Party worked, how they thought, the way Newspeak worked, very thought provoking. As a teen, this was a story that could never happen, as an adult with many years behind me I see how this could threaten our very society. I think reading this as a teen so much was lost on my own inexperience, BUT as a college student, this would have a greater impact. Sorry, not much here about the book, I do think it should be mandatory reading for every person.
Surprisingly, I was never given this book as an assignment for a class. I took it upon myself to read it because it is a book that is found on every "must read" book list. I'm glad I read it, even though it did not do a lot for me. When I read Fahrenheit 451, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and On the Road, I immediately understood why these books are considered classics and on "must read" book lists. They intrigued me and stayed with me long after I put them down. Will 1984 have that same impact? Probably not. I am glad I read it and I did enjoy the freaky parallels between Orwell's dystopian future and our present. But, for some reason, the story didn't move me the way I anticipated. It felt like a chore to read and I was secretly pleased I'd never had to read it for a class. I was even more pleased that I didn't have to write a paper on it! :)
This audiobook was just OK for me. The narrator was a little too deadpan. I found myself zoning out due to the reader's tone and, in hindsight, I wish I would have read the print version instead. Narration aside, the story was fantastic! I see an uncanny resemblance to current events in Orwell's writing.
I finally got around to reading this dystopian classic, and was pretty satisfied. It may not have lived up to my lofty expectations, but it was still a very good book. Its main strength is in the portrayal of a society that is so oppressive that you can't even breathe without "them", i.e. Big Brother, knowing about it. At times this book was extremely compelling, sometimes not so much. But it is worthy of its "classic" status, and most of the book has held up pretty well and does not seem too dated for being 60 years old.
Although I did enjoy this book and found it to be a very good portrayal of a possible future if the government controlled everything, it felt like it got "bogged down" in spots, particularly in the middle. George Orwell's language in this book, Newspeak, reminds me of instant messaging or text-messaging language as it is a way to get points across by using the least amount of words possible. The point of eliminating language in the novel was to eliminate independent thought and I can sort of see that with my students (and how they write things and lack certain critical & independent thinking skills, not saying there is a direct correlation, but reading this book made me think of that). There are a few other things that Orwell touches upon that makes you wonder how he knew that writing this in the 1940s. All in all, this book is one that everyone should make a point of reading at some point in their lives as it does contain so many themes and ideas that are ingrained into our culture.
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.
A classical read about a world controlled by Big Brother. The story depicts a negative Utopia world spawned by Hitler's approach to the people of Germany and the countries he captured. Can life really be this hopeless? Will people succumb to pressures that dehumanize them? Will love, compassion and such emotions become a thing of the past? Key character of this novel is Winston Smith who deep in his heart believes there can be a better world than the one in which he lives. He falls in love with Julia who has similar beliefs and they have a love affair. Of course, they are caught, suffer torture, demeaning experiences and brainwashing. The negative theme of the book continues to the last page. For me it was a depressing but thought provoking read. Perhaps, we all should read 1984.
I found this book difficult to read because I knew that at any moment a crushing blow was going to fall on the main character (I hesitate to say hero). Otherwise, Orwell writes well and he kept my attention. I found the Afterword by Erich Fromm, which places 1984 in the context of other dystopian books, an interesting read as well.
This was a great read and a lot to think about. I was not excited about the rated R content, and would keep this one on a higher shelf, but there are a few lines in the book that are spot on! It gives us something to fear if we do not start to wake up and take back our country. We could become this!
The reason for the 3 star rating is because there were several places where it is VERY SLOW. Winston has the right idea to buck the system, but then shows no inspiring character in the process. The lack of character in Winston and his female counterpart are underwhelming.
In my opinion, this is George Orwell's best book. "1984" is a scarily accurate dystopic novel about what the author saw going on around him during the rise of such dictatorships as Stalin and Hitler. The novel asks what the world would be like if such totalitarian socialism were allowed to run rampant and take over everywhere, and the answers Orwell digs up are terrifying in their implications! Read this book, challenge your mind, awaken your senes to what is happening in the world around you now, and be changed forever. "1984" is absolutely one of the best books ever written!
I had not read 1984 since i was a high school student, under the ominous cloud of my fundamentalist evangelical brainwashing. I had planned to re-read it recently, in light of the nature of politics in the U.S. this year, but did not have a copy. After hearing that Amazon SOLD OUT of the title around the time of the Trump inauguration, i had the luck of running across a copy in the Little Free Library box in our neighborhood!!! (https://littlefreelibrary.org/)
WOW! This book is amazing. I can't imagine being able to absorb the message and depth of this book at high school age. The warnings and prophecy conveyed through this superbly told tale are not only brilliant, but have deep implications in the society in which we live in today's world. It is equally relevant in the U.S. as it is in other "modern" nations and governments. It is unnerving to see so many of the dystopian concepts and techniques used by Big Brother being used by the U.S. government today, especially in this neo-GOP regime that took control of the White House and Congress in January. This book deserves its status as a classic, and should be read and discussed by every literate citizen while it is still permitted. The warnings conveyed are real dangers that threaten us all today. Beware.
George Orwell describes a future where the government is all-powerful and squashes any attempts of individuals who desire to think independently of government control.
The concept of the book is much more captivitating than the story. A minority of powerful people seeking to keep others subjected to their rule. The theories and practices of how this works out in culture was interesting and something that we can see in our world. It described how readily a population will conform to mindless activities and never question the stories presented to them from "Big Brother".
SPOILERS!!!SPOILERS from this point on:
Once you get into the story, everything falls apart for me. Winston, the main dish of our story, becomes discontent with being a cog in the system and revolts. Winston starts small with a couple visits to a pawn shop and starts a diary, which in this world is certain death. Then we fall into this "love" story and basically Winston hooks up frequently with this tart named Julia and they fornicate until the Thought Police catch them.
Once they are caught they turn each other in, let go of these convictions that led them to revolt, and end up back in society brainwashed. Did I miss something?
I think this is flawed. People around the world do choose death and face their worst fears for something more than what the world offers. The problem is Orwell's world in 1984 has no God and only human progress. The end result is a book that sends the message there is nothing worth living for or giving your life for. Hogwash.
I had heard about this book for many years, but never read it.... in this time of our country, this book hit home with me. With our Government getting into more and more of the private sector businesses, this book made me feel like what happened could possibaly be happening right here in the goood old U.S. of A. I hurried to finish to see how it ended, and it was not good!!!
This book was mentioned a few times about the how the situations of today are looking more like the 1984 book. Well, I started reading it and the story line added too much "fluff" for my taste; it was pretty tacky and not something I would NOT want my kids to pick up and read.
This is one of the most thought provoking and disturbing books I've read. It depicts a society where everything is controlled by a government entity and individuality is being slowly eradicated. Imagine Hitler and Stalin and Marx running the world, but with access to modern technology. Of course, this books was written before computer technology was fully developed, but the ideas are illustrated here. Every aspect of a person's life is monitored by the government. And there are immediate repercussions for a citizen who falls out of line.
Overall, this is a disturbing book that could easily become reality. If you enjoy this book, you may consider reading "A Brave New World" by Huxley or "Anthem" by Rand. The movie "Equilibrium" kind of combines the ideas illustrated in these three books.
Books like this are why i have shunned contemporary authors and am going back to re-read classics. This book is a very compelling and immersive story. Quite horrifying as well but i couldnt help drawing a parallel between the fictional world presented in the story and the countless examples of communist/totalitarian regimes of our time. Clearly Orwell's meant it that way considering his personal viewpoints on politics and he presents a terrible picture of what he feels could be the result of sliding down the slippery slope of socialism/communism towards a totalitarian cradle to grave government.
This book, in my honest opinion, is totally overrated. I couldn't even finish it because it was just so dark, dull, and depressing. I really wanted to like this one since it's a classic and it's been around forever. But I got to about page 100 and said, "Is this something I want to keep reading?" and my answer was "NO!" Too depressing for my taste.
After I "tried" reading this, I "tried" to watch the movie......absolutely terrible. This book is definitely not for me.
1984 is a science fiction first published in the 40s. An idea that George Orwell thought of as a possible future. To explain the book without ruining the ending is hard. The book is dark and as the character sneak away to spots where Big Brother can not see them. There is always the feeling that you should look over your shoulder to see if they found you. Being in places Big Brother cant see you and being punished for going to those places does not seem as insane as thinking of being somewhere else and being punished for. Imagine having a thought against Big Brother and speaking in your sleep about it. Only to have your 5 year old daughter to report to the Thought Police for punishment which could be death.
This strange version of history that could have been is difficult to have anything good to say about it. Except for the fact that thankfully we do not live like this.
You want badly for the couple in the book to find a way to break loose and free themselves from Big Brother. Never thinking that the ending will turn as it does.
So much sadness and melancholy within in one book is depressing at times but it was a interesting read of a classic.
1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "Negative Utopia"-a startingly original and haunting novel that cfreates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words.
The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we are becoming is timelier than ever. Still the great modern classic of "Negative Utopia." My daughter ask me to read this book. With her youthful outlook, I doubted that there would be impressionable insight--however, I was WRONG! This book may be a fictional work, however it now eerily similar to our evolving society of 2006, and even depicts where we will be with rising government involvement in our private lives and small liberties IF WE DO NOT WISE UP and take our civic duties and rights more seriously--less apathetically. It is a MUST READ!
WOW I MUST REALLY BE MEANT TO READ THIS. I PICKED THIS BECAUSE MICHAEL CRICHTON SAID THIS IS HIS FAVORITE BOOK. OR ONE OF HIS FAVORITES. WELL, I AM GOING TO START IT TONIGHT, BUT THE SENDER SENT ME NOT ONE BUT TWO OF THESE, SO WHILE I AM READING ONE, I HAVE AN EXTRA ONE TO SEND OUT IF YOU'D LIKE. HECK, WE COULD START OUR OWN BOOK CLUB.
1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "Negative Utopia" - a startingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny this novel's power, its hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions - a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.