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  • 1984
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4.6 out of 5 stars182
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Showing 1-10 of 142 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
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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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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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.

Update
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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on November 23, 2007
A powerful book, that eerily depicts the direction the world is going where truth is shunted and lies are promoted by all the mainstream media. The three slogans of the Party as described in book is very familiar with what we hear from our leaders in these times:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Orwell paints a picture of how this fascist totalitarian state is controlled by control surveillance, the new language of Newspeak and the three main ministries that are:

"Ministry of Peace", which concerns itself with war
"The Ministry of Truth", which takes care of news, entertainment, education etc. in short translated as the place of propaganda
"The Mihistry of Love", which is concerned with law and order and according to Orwell the most frighening one.

It is truly a must read book as the rise of fascism is happening. Can also highly recommend seeing the movie called "V for Vendetta", as it is also set in a fascist environment, that closely resembles the one George Orwell depicts in this book.

Can recommend the book "Political Ponerology" to understand how a society becomes a fascist state.
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on November 23, 2007
A powerful book, that eerily depicts the direction the world is going where truth is shunted and lies are promoted by all the mainstream media. The three slogans of the Party as described in book is very familiar with what we hear from our leaders in these times:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

Orwell paints a picture of how this fascist totalitarian state is controlled by control surveillance, the new language of Newspeak and the three main ministries that are:

"Ministry of Peace", which concerns itself with war
"The Ministry of Truth", which takes care of news, entertainment, education etc. in short translated as the place of propaganda
"The Mihistry of Love", which is concerned with law and order and according to Orwell the most frighening one.

It is truly a must read book as the rise of fascism is happening. Can also highly recommend seeing the movie called "V for Vendetta", as it is also set in a fascist environment, that closely resembles the one George Orwell depicts in this book.

Can recommend the book "Political Ponerology" to understand how a society becomes a fascist state.
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on July 18, 2005
In "1984", George Orwell proved his brilliance with this short novel. It portrays the life of a simple man, Winston Smith, in a totalitarian society. In Oceania, where Winston lives, the Party controls every aspect of every person's life and has the ability to erase the past and "vaporize" any member of the society who betrays the Party.
Winston Smith,or better known to the Party as "6079 Smith W.", is a seemingly average worker of the Ministry of Truth who begins to let his mind wander, an act punishable by death. He purchases a journal where he begins to express his true feeling towards the Party and Big Brother, the ultimate source of power. Even more dangerous that keeping a diary, Winston forms an on-going love affair which he cleverly hides well. All of these act, if caught, could potentially put him in Room 101, the most terrible punishment ever created.
As the plot thickens the reader feel a part of Winston's life. Although dense, this suspenseful page-turner keeps you on your toes. The three slogans that run Oceania, "WAR IS PEACE/ FREEDOM IS SLAVERY/ IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH" artistically portray the twisted and intense rules of the Party. Orwell warns his readers of the possibilities of the future government. 1984 subtly hints the government's power over the brotherhood and our society today.
George Orwell's "1984" is a thought provoking novel that will make you stop and reflect about your own life and the government's ultimate control over you. Once the ideas of "1984" get into your mind, they inevitably will always linger as life goes on. Honestly, this book will haunt you. Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Orwell, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, lonesome (but also funny) little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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on July 16, 2005
The scariest, deepest, most interesting, and undoubtedly the best book I've ever read. When I started it, I couldn't put it down. When I finished it, I couldn't pick it up for fear of paranoia. Even now, after I've finally somewhat gotten over it, there are still some nights I can't sleep thinking about this unbelievably incredible book. It's ten times scarier than any Stephen King novel, and it's at least as deep, if not deeper, than anything written by Poe or Shakespeare. This book should undoubtedly be a requirement for anyone in the entire world living under any form of government. The story takes place in 1984, but it could be set in 2084 and not much would change. There is absolutely nothing I've ever read which even comes close to projecting the kind of heavy, depressing, absolute fear which utterly consumes the reader and stays with them forever. Of course I would recommend this book, but I must warn that it can't be treated lightly. It will send you to the edge of paranoia, and throw you into a smothering kind of depression. This is not a book you will soon forget, and it's not a book you can read without questioning everything you think and believe. You'll never hear the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" again, without chills going down you're spine, and fear filling every corner of your being. I would also like to recommend another book that I recently came across------very thought provoking and unusual, titled THE CHILDREN'S CORNER. Not a book for children but a great, great, colorful romp through humor-land, darkness, great writing, and stellar prose. By Jackson McCrae. Check it out. I read it for a class and loved it. If you loved "Brave New World" then you'll like 1984.
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