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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on November 1, 2013
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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on January 13, 2014
This book caught my interest because of other good reads I've been doing, and recently, the radio hasn't stopped talking about how Orwell-ish our world has actually become. Orwell is a visionnary and it seems like even the book was written in 1930's, the relevance of this book is pretty astonishing. Alot of predition of the future he thinks will happen actually happens in the world today and points out to a terrifying future ahead. Love seeing how older generations had envisionned the future. Although this one is a fiction, ts not that far from not beeing one. And I think thats the most shocking part of it. Excellent red, a must read for every avid reader and a vision to share as much as possible.
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on February 8, 2015
great book, written in 1948 but very relevant to our world today. This paperback has decent binding that should stand up to a few good readings as it gets passed around to other readers. Type face is nice. Basic discount paperback quality that you'd find in bookstore chain store.
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on May 27, 2014
The dystopian future envisaged by Orwell seems to still be scarily attainable. Newspeak is not just a fanciful parable about a future gone mad, it can often be detected currently in pronouncements from various sources. Witness the current "protection of ethnic Russians" by the Putin regime.
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on October 14, 2013
I don't know exactly why I never sat down and read this book, but I'm really happy I did. I remember reading, Animal Farm, back in high school, but I think this would have been a better selection. The story is heartbreaking and disturbing and you can feel Winston's constraint as he struggles with his beliefs toward Big Brother and his feelings toward himself. It's truly one of the most profound things I've ever read.
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This novel is an amazing read! Orwell starts off by introducing the reader into the terribly grim dark world of Big Brother. The state controls everything and everybody. Orwell has written a fictional story, but you soon realize almost everything Orwell writes about, has happened somewhere in the World. I feel this was Orwell`s message, to warn people that Big Brother can and will spring up anywhere, and at any time. In the past one can look to the Stalin and Hitler regimes, for examples of what Orwell is talking about. In the present, North Korea is an almost perfect example of Orwell`s 1984 novel. And sometimes bits of Big Brother, pops up right in your own backyard. In the 2008- 2009 school year, Queens University introduced a "conversation police force" to monitor students living on Campus. This was done to prevent anything happening in the student living quarters, that was not deemed "politically correct". The controversial policy was later dropped by the University. This is the sort of thing that Orwell is trying to warn the reader about. Big Brother can suddenly appear, even in a place of higher learning. Orwell is trying to tell us, that state control is not just something that happens in far away places, such as North Korea.
There are also many smaller examples of state manipulation, such as control of the media, that are explained in the novel. The modern reader will have no trouble relating to media manipulation.
1984 is a novel that everyone living in a free society should read, at least once.
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on September 21, 2013
That this novel was written in 1947 proves that whats going on in the world today has been going on for a long time. 1984 takes it to the extreme, or what was once thought to be extreme. Its not so extreme now, in fact, it highly plausible.
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on September 22, 2009
Let the Buyer Beware! This is not 1984 by George Orwell. Look at the number of pages in the Product Details. It's only 84 pages and maybe 25 percent of the pages are an 'activity section'. It's so small, Reader's Digest would be jealous. If you're looking for the actual full-length 1984, this is not it. I feel the top of this book's web page in Amazon should not be "1984 (Paperback)" but rather "1984 (Condensed)"
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on December 4, 2015
Big Brother is Watching You is the famous phrase from this book. This classic fiction is a near future sci-fi story from 1949. It was probably was a political critic of the early Labour governments of the mid twentieth century in the UK. Much of the context can be associated with the historical back ground of those days. Wearing over-alls, a bombed and shabby London, rationing and rats all were part of that city in the forties. Even the ministry buildings that towered above London’s sky line might be a take on the flak towers of Berlin.

The telecaster a device, not digital, was a two way TV. In the book it both brain washed and spied on people. While the two way TV never materialised the same functions are today done with other technologies. Computers have two way functions and data tracking is common place. Digital monitoring and spying are done by the always present surveillance cameras and radar devices. Cars and digital devices are traceable and BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.

The story is about a man named Winston who becomes critical of the oppressive regime and begins to think differently. The Thought Police immediately recognise this through their spying and trap him. They spy, arrest and torture him till he breaks and betrays love. The party is building a hate based society and his biggest crime: to love. The struggle is between the individual and the collective. The collective is the party and no variations are allowed. War is for the only purpose to use up extra resources and to justify oppression and hatred. Society is stratified and shored up by lies.

My take-a-way is; “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four. If that is granted, all else follows.” This quote, interestingly, is on page eighty four. So honesty and love are the counters to lies and hatred.

The repeat section was a bit perplexing as to why it was not edited out, but my best guess is that as the protagonist was breaking the rules, so was the author breaking the rules of writing. A love affair is the only action in this thinking type of book. It is introspective and gets into the head of the protagonist. I found reading it a bit slow at times and the effort was more like reading a philosophy book and not so much reading for entertainment. I think this book should be required reading to foster a rational discussion about contemporary surveillance by digital devices.
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I first read this book in spring of 1967 as a college sophomore. I thought it was interesting and easy to read. I thought it was a tale about a nation where government had gone to the extreme - a socialist bureaucracy. I never suspected that government could get this intrusive in a democratic-republic, the most freedom loving nation in the world!

However, I now wonder if we weren't on our way to bloated, over-powering government. And I wonder if socialism and bureaucracy haven't completely taken hold, entrenched large powerful government, unconcerned with individual rights??? Orwell… a genius or a prophet? Everyone should read this book accompanied by a copy of the Bill of Rights!
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