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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meant as a warning, not as a guide
I first read 1984 as part of my High School curriculum.
At the time, it was amazing to think that a book written before any but the earliest forms of computers, when most people had never heard of television, and before CNN existed could have so eerily predicted things like Flat-screens in every house, and ministries in charge of controlling the news and pop...
Published 11 months ago by Paul

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3.0 out of 5 stars what i thought of animal farm
Do you ever wonder what would happen if animals could fight for themselves; if they overthrew their masters? Can you imagine what terrible things could happen? Find out in the fantasy Animal Farm by George Orwell.
I learned a lot from this book. I already knew that communism was a bad thing but Orwell really demonstrates illustratively what horrors could surface...
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by a


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meant as a warning, not as a guide, Nov. 1 2013
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This review is from: Nineteen Eighty Four (Paperback)
I first read 1984 as part of my High School curriculum.
At the time, it was amazing to think that a book written before any but the earliest forms of computers, when most people had never heard of television, and before CNN existed could have so eerily predicted things like Flat-screens in every house, and ministries in charge of controlling the news and pop culture.

I re-read it some years later and it was scarier still, as the world was at war, only now our enemies were the same band of merry outlaws we had allied with against the Russians. To watch Rambo III, and CNN during Operation Desert Storm, and then to re-read 1984 was an interesting experience.

Now, I think it is even more relevant. With everyone up in arms about the NSA scandal, figures like Osama Bin Laden, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange popping up in the State Controlled news casts, and more and more men and women in North America sporting "smart phones" equipped with great tools like GPS, geo-tagging, facial recognition software and fingerprint pass-protection I shake my head.

Every time I hear a song on the radio that I find my feet tapping along to, and realize the words make little to no sense - they just sound good together, as if synthesized to appeal to as many people as possible - and every time I see some news about climate change, genocide, or an environmental disaster overshadowed by the latest celebrity spotting I cringe and wonder if Orwell understood that he wasn't writing a warning for the public, he was writing a playbook for the elite.

Even if you think, "LOL - this guy is crazy!", you should do yourself a favour and really read this fantastic bit of fiction. Some would say it is a spectacular example of a literary endeavour. Others would say it's a really, really good book. I would give this 2 + 2 stars out of 5. So 5 out of 5 stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, enjoyable, and important book to read, Nov. 4 2008
This review is from: Animal Farm (Paperback)
In terms of reading books that are classics, this one is pain free. The language is easy and it's short enough to get through in a day, and best of all the story is entertaining. My advice would be to spend a few hours on the net reading about the Russian Revolution and Stalin's bio before reading to make sure you appreciate all the allusion, allegory, metaphors and all that blah blah stuff that makes it an important book. This is the one book I actually liked when I had to read it in highschool, 10 or so years later I still enjoyed breezing through it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your average classic, Jan. 28 2007
By 
H. MIller (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1984 (Mass Market Paperback)
Forget about the actual date and/or title of the book. You have to take into consideration when this was written and what Orwell thought 1984 was going to be like. Okay, so he missed it by twenty years or so. The point is, 1984 is more relevant now than it was back in the actual 1984.

Harrowing, like "Brave New World" it pretty much hits the nail on the head. Aren't you wonderful WHY this book is so successful and on the bestseller list after all these years---once again?

Just look around at the world and what's happening. Sure, parts of this book are depressing, but it makes us look at ourselves and what we've become (or not) thereby showing us where we should go (or not).

I have to recommend one other Amazon pick, which just totally knocked my socks off with its humor, look at human nature, and take on corporate greed and human problems: Jackson McCrae's "Katzenjammer" which should not be missed. Totally first rate with a surprise ending, short chapters, and great characters. Highly recommended for those who like good fast-paced reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grim warning, Oct. 6 2006
By 
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1984 (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a story that, unfortunately, seems to be slowly coming true. Many science fiction titles are escapist literature that either imagine a very different world(s) from our own, or at the very least, hold out some hopeful message - in other words, the good guys usually manage to win. This is neither kind of book. And it is science fiction because the sinister use of technology is what allows Big Brother to invade everyone's privacy and dictate what the characters can do or say, with severe, nightmarish punishment for "disobedience." There have other novels that have seized upon this idea of an anti-utopia, but Orwell was one of the first to place it in a realistic future, and in a chilling this-is-all-too-possible way.

And the parallels with our modern world are especially profound, parallels that are obvious all around us. The growing number of surveillance cameras on street corners, the ironic (but deliberately) named Patriot Act in the U.S., the rise of political and religious intolerance in the world...all of it does not bode well for the future of our basic liberties. Orwell got in right back in 1948, and although he was primarily referring to the "red menace" of his era, the tactics used by suppressive governments are tempting for any government because of the control such tactics provide, liberties be damned. Your agenda- whatever it is- can more easily be achieved if you can identify your enemies early on and thwart their every move. The problem is, when your enemies are law-abiding citizens whose political (or religious) views don't match your own- and that's the only "crime"- you've stepped over the boundary of national security and entered the realm of repression. And to stop open criticism of these tactics, these governments (including the repressive one in 1984) invariable claim that the critics are "unpatriotic," "traitors," maybe even "terrorists." Sound familiar? Repressive governments have been using these tactics for centuries; only now, modern technology makes it a whole lot easier- and yes, unfortunately, a lot more tempting.

Of course we don't want real terrorists. The problem is, a "quick fix" of sweeping powers put into the hands of a relatively few like-minded individuals- with checks and balances muted if not totally brushed aside- can, will, and has lead to abuse of those powers, primarily for political and personal gains. That was the real message of 1984, and it's one we should never forget. And if the citizens of a repressive government either don't recognize the danger- or worse yet, vigorously defend it under some mistaken notion of being "patriotic" themselves, surrendering their own liberties in the process- that just makes it all the easier for the incumbents to remain in power, with little chance for genuine reform or change.

It's all there in this great book, 1984, which deserves to be widely read forever and amen.

-Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unreal, Jan. 16 2008
By 
T. Bigney (Nova Scotia, canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Animal Farm (Paperback)
there isn't too much i can say that hasn't already been said, i didn't do any research before reading this book, but I was familiar with the russian revolution. after reading it i figured it was about the russian revolution, stalin, et al, and came online to check it out. sure enough that's what it's about.

i think this is required reading, although i didn't have to read it in high school.

if you haven't read it, please do, it's a short, but fascinating read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten warning from history, Oct. 25 2007
By 
Harrison Koehli (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 1984 (Mass Market Paperback)
1984 has always been my favorite book, and yet I did not know why until recently. I also knew that the reviews and commentary I had read were missing something important. Rereading it again recently, with Pynchon's excellent introduction, I feel I have a better understanding of its importance as a warning from history.

To convey my new understanding, I will focus on only one aspect of the book: Big Brother. Big Brother has come to be associated with massive government surveillance, just as the telescreens in 1984 were used by the government to keep Party members in constant fear. Orwell's vision is seen as prescient. The use of such technology today, and the possibility of its misuse, is a pressing topic in itself. But to only go so far is to miss the point entirely, in my opinion.

Orwell was describing, in futuristic terms, what had its essence in the system of "government" sucking the life of Eastern Europe at the time. A talk with any Pole, Hungarian, or Russian who lived through such times will tell you. Big Brother is a metaphor. For in such a system, characterized (and this is the essential factor missing by critics of Communism, and commentators on Orwell's masterpiece) by the presence of psychopathic individuals in all positions of influence and authority, normal people must live daily, hiding any trace that they possess the ability to feel normal human emotions.

To expose yourself as experiencing normal human reactions in the presence of psychopathic individuals unfettered by any system of law is a deadly thing in such a "pathocratic" system. Orwell was not writing of the evils of surveillance technology, he was writing about the very real threat that, in the control of a psychopathic system of government, such technology will be used to stamp out any trace of humanity. Normal people will once again be forced to play-act a life without meaning.

With pathocracy brewing in the halls of government in the mightiest nations on Earth, the world could use another read of 1984, perhaps in conjunction with the work of Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes), who has written extensively on this system of pathocracy, and what can be done about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillian Fairy Tale for Adults..., May 3 2004
By 
Every time I read something by George Orwell, I'm convinced what a genius he was. This novel, along with 1984, is so entrenched in our collective consciousness now that it is difficult to remember a time when they didn't exist. I think that political extremists on either side would like to subvert Orwell's message for their own purposes. What makes Orwell great however is that he is not simply skewering the left or the right, but politics itself. To paraphrase Woody Allen in Sleeper (his take on 1984) "It doesn't matter who is in charge - they're all terrible."
Historically, Animal Farm was written as a polemic against Soviet communism after Orwell returned from fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Even though the USSR is his main target, Animal Farm reads like a blueprint for every violent revolution ever. I'm also reading a book on the French Revolution, and I'm amazed at how much the two link up. First comes the idyllic phase when the oppressors have been overthrown. Next, the "liberators" soon set themselves up as demi-gods. Next comes marshal law. Eventually, it does become impossible to distinguish the men from the pigs. "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
This book, written before 1984, introduces some of the themes that Orwell will do much to develop later. For instance, like Big Brother, Napoleon - the leader - gradually does away with the animal's history and memory. He gradually alters the Seven Commandments of animals, while maintaining they were "always" that way. ("We are at war with Eastasia. We have ALWAYS been at war with Eastasia.")
This book is so spot-on in its depiction of human (animal) behavior its scary. Whenever Napoleon institutes another sacrilege, the "sheep" are quick to shout down any opposition with their cry of "Four legs good, two legs bad." Inevitably, this becomes, "Two legs good, four legs bad." Four legs are bad, four legs have ALWAYS been bad...
If you were forced to read this in school, or haven't read it in a long time, give it another chance. It's extremely short and you'll enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a Powerful Book on State Control, Nov. 28 2007
This review is from: 1984 (Mass Market Paperback)
George Orwell's "1984" is such a powerful read, and a fascinating look into the world where one is under control of the State through the "Big Brother."

There is one quote that stood out for me from this book:

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."

What if this "Big Brother" is true? Now that would be a terrifying thought...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deviates corrected for their own good, June 10 2004
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
In a society that has eliminated many imbalances, surplus goods, and even class struggle, there are bound to be deviates; Winston Smith is one of those. He starts out, due to his inability to doublethink, with thoughtcrime. This is in a society that believes a thought is as real as the deed. Eventually he graduates through a series of misdemeanors to illicit sex and even plans to overthrow the very government that took him in as an orphan.
If he gets caught, he will be sent to the "Ministry of Love" where they have a record of 100% cures for this sort of insanity. They will even forgive his past indiscretions.
Be sure to watch the three different movies made from this book:
1984 (1954) Peter Cushing is Winston Smith
1984 (1956) Edmond O'Brien is Winston Smith
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) John Hurt is Winston smith
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Animal Farm for Adults, April 23 2004
By 
J. R. Veber (Salem, OR United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Well, not exactly Animal Farm, but the same themes are pushed to their maximum logical end. Orwell writes of a government bent on controlling the people that obviously stems from a comunist base. his stark future is frighteningly belivable and his characters are human to a fault. they live fictiotuious lives to the best of their abilities. they are individuals in a see of conformity no matter what the goverment may say.
The book makes the reader aware of any numerous ways that people can be controlled. After reading it, any action heard taken by the government becomes suspect. As good literature should, it demands the reader superimpose the book onto daily life and do all they can to prevent such a future.
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Animal Farm
Animal Farm by George Orwell (Paperback - July 29 2008)
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