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4.6 out of 5 stars1,144
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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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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 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 April 29, 2009
Even though there are no burning buildings and nuclear bombs this is an post apocalyptic novel if i have ever read one. This book is dark and disturbing and doesn't let up even at the end. This is now one of my all time favorite books. This is not for the faint of heart. I would suggest this to anyone who likes the following genres zombie, post apocalyptic, science fiction. Even though it is none of those things i think it had a strong basis in there creation.
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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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on September 6, 2010
This is my favorite book. Every time I read, Orwell's brilliance shines so much brighter. Much like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Orwell's prescience of the future is astounding. There is an uncanny ability to trace contemporary issues to those presented in 1984: the Party's with us or against us policy can be heard in similar sentiments echoed by Bush during the axis of evil campaign to use an example. It's interesting Orwell choose to balance power around minority issues and gender issues where all are equal as class is our signifier of difference.
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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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on September 30, 2013
Because I am not original, and with the recent exposure of NSA surveillance, I felt that this was the time to read the legendary Orwellian tale "Nineteen Eighty Four."

What has been said before about the book does not bare repeating; it's legendary status will be held for many years. I did feel that any parallels to what is currently happening in our political landscape is purely happenstance. Orwell was writing more than just the idea of our every movement being tracked and traced by an unknown government identity; the fears of extreme socialism were more important to him than that. The bleak ending wasn't what I was hoping for, but the ending was what was deserved for the narrative arc of Winston Smith.

I am more disappointed over the book's paperback cover. I heard about the artistry of it over an article at The Verge ([...] and was quite enamoured by it. THAT was the book I wish to purchase. However, I am dismayed at how quickly the black ink used to block out the title and author quickly scrubbed off after normal use. The title, which was barely seen before, is intelligible now thanks to the splotchy ink left over. Quite disappointed over this.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 2, 2013
Update # 2
It's been over a year now since I read 1984 and I can't get it out of my mind. I didn't like it much when I read it...I still don't like the outcome, but you have to admire any book that haunts you like this one does. Orwell's ability to make me think about this story so consistently for such a long period of time is a credit to his greatness. It has become the book I love to hate and for that it gets another star.

So I have had a month to consider this book. I find myself thinking about it a fair amount. I now think the point of this book was to make people become outraged at the story. To use this story as a way to incite people to fight against Government control. To not let things get close to becoming this way. Since it was written around the time of war, Orwell may have sensed that the Government might consider using the war as an excuse to tighten the reigns on the population. Anyhow, if a book keeps me thinking like this book has, it gets an extra star.

Original Review
To put it bluntly, and probably much to the dismay of many, I did not like this book. It was monotonous for the first few chapters - which I think was probably the point. The rest was OK until I got to the end. I'm not sure what the author was trying to say. Perhaps "Just give up, you can't beat the Government" or "Give up on striving for anything, it won't happen in the end" or even "Every person is so insignificant that they might as well end it all now". One might think the Government itself paid the author to put that out to make a point. In the end, to me, it doesn't matter. I didn't like the message that I read in it.
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I have grown very weary of unskilled readers who call themselves 'critics' that harp on the fact that Orwell's characters are superficial, that the events that occur are unrealistic or that such occurrences are nothing more than fantasy and are improbable to occur! This is a dystopic, symbolic book that was written to warn persons of on-going trends and propaganda that each generation experiences. That is what it is, plain and simple. If you are looking for realism, fuzzy-warm characterizations and/or fairy-tale endings, Danielle Steel or the Brothers Grimm may be more along your level of reading pleasure and overall comprehension.

Obviously, "1984", if written today, would not focus of the evil potentials of socialism but, rather, would examine the role of unfettered,'democratic' capitalism. The end results would be the same with only the names of the antagonists changing. The unlimited tapping of telephone and internet communication, the continual 'dumbing down' of the populace through the media, the encouragement of participatory violence through M rated video gaming, the high degree blind-nationalism that pervades all societies, the drastic reduction in the freedoms of speech, the over-powering influence that religious fundamentalism has upon the evolution of humanity in general, the purposeful rewriting of US history books to concur with existing conservative ideology, the stipping away of the long held rights of womanhood and reproduction and the non-ending imprisonment for those who fall under the leaky umbrella called 'terror suspect'; These are the things that were forewarned by George Orwell. These are the things that occurring around us with little, or no, awareness or protestations on our part.

Don't you think that it is time to take authors and classical works such as this one seriously? Or are we to be as the frog in the water pot not realizing that the heat we are immersed in is rising? "1984" is a tale of what occurs after the frog has been boiled and not a tale his initial entrance into the pot. Don't we all feel the heat all around us? Why do we as a society simply sit here, fully immersed, with most of us saying "Nothing is happening and even if it were, I don't want to become involved."! No, "1984" does not have a 'happily ever after' ending but, then, neither will we if we don't start paying attention. Ignorance is not a blessing, only a means for a temporary escape.
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