by George Orwell

Number of pages: 328

Publisher: Signet Classic

BBB Library: Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 978-0451524935

About the Author

George Orwell is one of England's most famous writers and social commentators. Among his works are the classic political satire Animal Farm and the dystopian nightmare vision Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell was also a prolific essayist, and it is for these works that he was perhaps best known during his lifetime. They include Why I Write and Politics and the English Language. His writing is at once insightful, poignant and entertaining, and continues to be read widely all over the world.


Editorial Review

1984 tells the story of Winston Smith, a tall, fragile, thirty-nine-year-old man in blue overalls. Winston came from a world where one was always watched, even in their bedroom; a world where children went to public executions for fun; a world where one was either a member of the Party, or a worthless prole. That was the post-revolution world of Oceania—the world this summary is all about.

Book Reviews

"The argument recurs every decade or so: Orwell got it wrong. Things haven’t turned out that bad. The Soviet Union is history. Technology is liberating. But Orwell never intended his novel to be a prediction, only a warning. And it’s as a warning that 1984 keeps finding new relevance. We pass our days under the nonstop surveillance of a telescreen that we bought at the Apple Store, carry with us everywhere, and tell everything to, without any coercion by the state. The Ministry of Truth is Facebook, Google, and cable news. We have met Big Brother and he is us. 1984 will always be an essential book, regardless of changes in ideologies, for its portrayal of one person struggling to hold on to what is real and valuable. “Sanity is not statistical,” Winston thinks one night as he slips off to sleep. Truth, it turns out, is the most fragile thing in the world. The central drama of politics is the one inside your skull." - The Atlantic

"Orwell effectively explores the themes of mass media control, government surveillance, totalitarianism and how a dictator can manipulate and control history, thoughts, and lives in such a way that no one can escape it. Perhaps the most powerful, effective and frightening notion of 1984 is that the complete control of an entire nation under a totalitarian state is perfectly possible. If the world fell under the control of one or even multiple dictators, the future could easily become a twisted, cruel world where every movement, word and breath is scrutinised by an omnipotent, omnipresent power that no one can stop, or even oppose without the fear of death. Orwell’s novella is a warning for the human race. It highlights the importance of resisting mass control and oppression." - The Guardian

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.

What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself; who gives your arguments a fair hearing and simply persists in his lunacy?

Always eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.

There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.

You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized.

Your worst enemy was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.