Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - 1984

Author: George Orwell
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 startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the l...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780451524935
ISBN-10: 0451524934
Publication Date: 1/1/1961
Pages: 336
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 1678 ratings
Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed 1984 on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
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.
reviewed 1984 on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
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.
reviewed 1984 on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
One of my favorite dystopian books-however, I wouldn't considering "light reading" a la a crime novel or romance novel. Definitely thought provoking.
reviewed 1984 on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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!
Rev avatar reviewed 1984 on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
"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.
Read All 104 Book Reviews of "1984"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed 1984 on + 6 more book reviews
Really good story that contains ideas that still resonate as true in the 21st century.
xxmoonlitsky avatar reviewed 1984 on
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.
freebird1985 avatar reviewed 1984 on
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? ;)
reviewed 1984 on + 193 more book reviews
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.
reviewed 1984 on + 12 more book reviews
Riveting, thought-provoking, heart-breaking. Worth a read every ten years for the rest of your life.
demiducky25 avatar reviewed 1984 on + 161 more book reviews
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.
reviewed 1984 on + 11 more book reviews
This is Monarch Notes George Orwells 1984.
reviewed 1984 on
I read this book a very long time ago, but I do remember it keeping me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
juicyfruit avatar reviewed 1984 on
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.
reviewed 1984 on
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!
reviewed 1984 on + 8 more book reviews
This is a classic book and I understand why. George Orwell was far ahead of his time in seeing how a complete survillance society would come into being. This book has excellent parallels to today's world. Aook that is well worth your time to read.
reviewed 1984 on + 3 more book reviews
A wonderfully enlightening story describing the ideals of utopia and dystopia. I adore this book and would recommend anyone to read it if they want a quick, fast and good read.
reviewed 1984 on + 10 more book reviews
Although it was many years ago that I read this book, some of the scenes in it are still with me. To me, that is the main indicator of a really good book. I think had Orwell not written this book, we may well be the characters - but because of his insight, we are able to avoid (to a degree) the events that happen in the novel. We are able to hold Big Brother at bay, because we can see just how bad a government can be when it is given too much power over its people.
reviewed 1984 on + 3352 more book reviews
This classic novel still holds the reader spell-bound and scared. It rings very true with events of the last couple of decades.
RobbieM avatar reviewed 1984 on + 71 more book reviews
A classic that will haunt you.
reviewed 1984 on + 2 more book reviews
more like 3-4 stars, back in the 60's when i read it. Back then it was politically pertinent.

Book Wiki

Common Title
Winston Smith (Primary Character)
Real Places
Fictional Places