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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading cos it's brilliant, never mind all the hype!
If you can, skip the introduction to 1984.
Forget the film.
Forget that it might be comment on society 50 years ago and that it might apply to Soviet / Sino governments which hardly exist any more.
The themes which Orwell tackles are completely releavant.
So just dive straight in and read about a brilliant, scary, compelling and stark possible-future...
Published on 31 July 2007 by Rowena Hoseason

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1984
A most depressing but well written book, which I did not enjoy. It was for our book club therefore i had to read it, having read it once years ago
Published 6 months ago by Cameron


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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading cos it's brilliant, never mind all the hype!, 31 July 2007
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
If you can, skip the introduction to 1984.
Forget the film.
Forget that it might be comment on society 50 years ago and that it might apply to Soviet / Sino governments which hardly exist any more.
The themes which Orwell tackles are completely releavant.
So just dive straight in and read about a brilliant, scary, compelling and stark possible-future society.

1984 is an amazingly good read. It's easy to get in to and the characters grip you straight away. The language is pretty straightforward and it's a compact story -- so it's not a marathon 800-page monster like many modern novels can be. The dilemma of Winston Smith is so involving that I've found myself reading the whole book in one or two sessions (and I know exactly what happens!), just because I can't bear to put it down.

So just read it for the pleasure of reading a really great speculative novel, which comments on human society, and human relationships. Yes, it has dated somewhat but that's true of every book. The nightmare which surrounds the main characters isn't affected by the passage of time, and Room 101 is still very, very scary (you'll also discover just how many popular phrases came from this book. Plenty!)

Then, afterwards, you can get really scared about how much of it has come true and how close our society is to that of Orwell's imagination...

And if you were forced to read 1984 or Animal Farm at school, it's worth re-reading it as an adult to appreciate it without someone leaning over your shoulder and telling you what you should be thinking.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True, and becoming truer, 26 Jun 2006
`1984' is Orwell's post-modern classic, concerning what the world may look like in 1984, 40 years after the book was written. In Orwell's dystopia, the UK, as part of Oceania, is ruled by the despotic Big Brother. Big Brother has total control of all the media, and therefore controls all the information reaching the populace. The people, divided into the ruling Inner Party, the middle class Outer Party and the under-educated Proles, have total loyalty to Big Brother, in both thought and deed, and the righteousness of his actions, and the cause of Oceania, is unquestioned. Hints of rebellion, even in people's thoughts, are viciously crushed, and executions are commonplace. Against this background, Winston Smith begins to have doubts. He wants to engage in a love affair (as opposed to the passionless, state-sanctioned marriage) and have the ability to question Big Brother. Smith's attempts at subversion bring him face to face with the workings of the party, and a brutal introduction to the realities of life in Oceania.

Orwell's book chronicles a scary trajectory in which the twentieth century was headed in the 1940s, and at times it is no less relevant today. Although Orwell was writing partially about the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin, the observation of governments controlling the masses by controlling the flow of information through the media is possibly more pertinent today than ever before. Sometimes our society looks very different from Oceania, but some aspects are scarily similar, and Orwell's book is a timeless reminder about the dangers of giving anyone too much power. Few writers (perhaps only Shakespeare) have introduced so many new phrases to the English language. Two current TV programmes (`Big Brother' and `Room 101') take both their names and concepts from the pages of `1984'. This is perhaps an indication of both the richness of ideas and their ongoing relevance of `1984', and also an indication that everyone should read this book, to see how much of the world around them they can see in its pages.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Affecting and dark, 20 Dec 2006
By 
J. Higgins-Commowick "boiled_elephant" (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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In 1984, Orwell relates the depressing story of Winston Smith, a doomed citizen living in Airstrip One (formerly known as London), a poverty-ridden dystopia ruled over by The Party: a city where those who show signs of independent thought vanish in the night, where gigantic telescreens monitor Winston's every move, where he must scratch a living on what The Party provides, working a job rewriting old newspapers in The Party's favour while clinging to his sanity through tiny acts of secret rebellion.

The first of these acts is to purchase and write in a diary, and later to meet a female Party member in private (marriage is formally controlled by The Party, and is strictly for the sole purpose of reproduction). It is only when he finds true happiness and apparent haven from the eyes of the Thought Police that The Party choose to act, arresting him and subjecting him to a torture too cruel and lasting to imagine: one that destroys him in a more important way than death ever could.

As harrowing as Winston's despair-ridden tale is, it's the sheer relevance of the world he inhabits that makes the book such a joy to read in the 21st century. With our highly-filtered and biased news reports, a network of CCTV cameras watching us in city centres, tax on our products feeding the government money and censoring laws and activists stifling free speech, comparisons to 1984 are inevitable. In the world of 1984, people are robbed of personal freedom, brainwashed, abducted, tortured, gradually starved, lied to and killed, and the truly terrifying result of The Party's efforts is that there exists no material proof of their crimes.

The book illuminates the darkest eventuality of politics and government control, and makes it feel that bit too real for comfort.

Orwell's writing has not aged noticeably - I had no problem reading it, and I'm all of seventeen, so most readers will fly through it. If anything, however, some may find the writing style too coarse or simple: Orwell never entirely escapes the analytical style so well-suited to his essays, and in places the book lacks emotion and descriptive flair. In particular, the female protagonist is painfully shallow, never extending very far beyond a "Hello, Dear!" persona. At one point, Orwell also diverts away from the main story and dedicates a large portion of writing to a book within the story, one that Winston is reading, which should be interesting but is annoyingly long-winded and detracts from the main story.

Overall, though, 1984 is profound and chilling. It is a timeless tale of man vs state, and may be uplifting or depressing depending on the individual reader. At any rate, the countless parallels to modern culture make it interesting, and the arguments of logic between Winston and an Inner Party Member will give budding philosophers food for thought. Political enthusiasts will also find issues to chew over, and fans of popular culture may pick up on some unlikely links; musicians, authors and directors in years since have taken heaps of inspiration from the book: the iconic expression "a rebel from the waist down", made famous by a Marilyn Manson song, finds its roots here, alongside the concept of Big Brother and the inspiration of the video game Half-Life 2.

Something for everybody.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books that I have ever read., 25 May 2002
By A Customer
This book is truly outstanding, it is a timeless political satire that demands to be read to be fully appreciated. Nineteen Eighty Four is a chilling portrayal of totalitarianism with a Nietzsche philosophy --that there are no facts, only interpretations-- from the book we have: '"Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else," says O'Brien. " . . . In the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth."'
The concepts that Orwell deals are evident in our society today, only by reading the book will you truly understand Doublethink, Newspeak et cetera. After you read the book, it leaves a lasting impression, you will never look at the world the same way again.
This book, along with Animal Farm, would serve as chapters for a political Bible. A must read and a true classic.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You love Big Brother, don't you?, 24 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 1984 (Library Binding)
This is the book I wanted to study in English Lit at school, but I was palmed off with the cloying sentimentality of 'To the Lighthouse' instead. 1984 is a powerful claustrophobic novel that evokes an impression of a post war, brown-grey, totalitarian Britain where a national state of emergency is maintained to preserve the status quo. Everything about this book is original for its time, from the use of Newspeak, to the overwhelming sense of paranoia and fear that infects every thought and movement of the central characters, to the chilling reminder of just how frail the human spirit really is. 1984 can only be judged as a ground breaking literary event. Whether Orwell was writing to warn of the 'horrors' of communism, or the austerity of post war Britain is irrelevant. What he has single handedly achieved is to define the very essence of dystopian fiction. The date 1984 has become a brand term of description for mind control, totalitarianism and the police state. At the time Orwell wrote this, no piece of fiction had been as brutal or as terrifying in its portrayal of ideas and the determination with which a ruling body could obliterate them. It is hard to imagine the effect his novel could have had on its readers at the tail end of the 1940s. The book opened my eyes to a lot of things. I just wish the book had done so when I was 14.
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73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most interesting and chilling books ever, 16 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
This is a book that will grasp you from the start to the end. It is not just a book, it is a fantastic love tale,, it is a compedium of human traits and society, it is a grim phrophesy, a clever philisophical discussion, and so much more. Firstly the world it is set in is so realistic, yet weird and chilling at the ame time, the way the world is split into 3 super states constantly at war. The way there is adoration of BIG BROTHER and how the higher up the ranks of society you go, the more demented and cruel everyone is. And this is just the shallow outer edge of the book! its chilling in itself! But the REAL nightmare comes when you look deeper into the plot, the states of mind, the 2 minutes hate, and the talks with o brien. This is when you get a horrifying picture of what human society can create, and might well of done, had Orwells predictions come true. And yet through all the horrer comes this weird dream-like feeling, of a strange surreal world. On top of this you can look at the world today around us and HONESTLY say that some, even a lot, of the traits and systems in 1984 exist today. The societies of hate, the manipulation of truth in newspapers like the SUN. These factors all contribute to making one of the, if not THE, best book(s) ever written. READ IT AND HAVE A GOOD LONG LOOK AROUND YOU...
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of intense Political paranoia..., 8 July 2003
By 
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
Big Brother, The Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak...all powerful weapons of complete control...but they haven't worked on Winston. Winston is completely aware that 'The Party' (Big Brother) has absolute power and control of everything, and they can see and hear just about everyone whenever they want. In a world where even thinking can be a crime, Winston struggles to escape constant paranoia, to find happiness and freedom...but with disturbing consequences.
'The Party,' has designed 'Newspeak,' which has been specially desgined to be the official language of Oceania. Newspeak will not only be the language, but the way of thinking to the people...making it impossible to think or act against Big Brothers totalitarian world. Newspeak will eradicate certain thought processes and will destroy individuality, keeping the human mind as simple as possible so that Big Brother will maintain complete power...forever. Together with 'Doublethink,' they make for perfect mind control...
We follow the mind of Winston, and his daring actions against Big Brother. Engulfed with paranoia from the beginning, you simply cannot put the book down.
Nineteen Eighty-Four opens up your eyes to the real world, and changes the way you think completely. Not only is the story gripping and surreal, it is also not far from the truth. This is definately the best book I have ever read, giving a definate warning to us now, and those in the future.
This is a must to everybody...but be warned...you will suffer intense paranoia and will never look at the television in the same way ever again!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrific view of what could of happened, and may yet., 11 Feb 2005
By 
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
Addmittadly, this was an impulse buy on my part. I had vaguely heard of Orwell before, and I had never read any of his work. Now, I have read three of his books, and am looking for more. Why the change? I had no idea that Nineteen Eighty-Four was going to be as it was - frightening, thought provoking and ultimately distressing. To think that a work of fiction from the 1940s could so accurately discribe elements of life today is amazing, and almost unheard of.
Other writers have attepted to sujest what the future may be. Asimov, for example, thought up a universe filled with robots. But Orwells world is something totally differant, and much more in line with what has actually happened. It is a world where your every move is watched, where the media is controlled, and people who do not toe the line, even in their sleep, become "unpersons", seasing to exist altogether. This is the world of Room 101. This world has it's own language, a twisted corruption of English, which can in part be seen today. It is easy to imagine that a camera is on you all the time, that people can look inside your head. Ingsoc could easily have happened, and could be around today.
This is the world Orwell creates. It is a political jab, as well as a frightening piece of fiction, becoming truth. Upon finishing it, two things horrified me: the first being the content of the book, particularly its ending and the simple style of writing that captured the mood amazingly, and the second that I had not heard of the book before. I would almost demand of my friends to read this! In fact, as a result some have. Why is it not more widely known to the younger population? Even though it is set in the past, it almost seems to be about what it yet the future, something that could still easily happen to us. And that, that really scares me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 25 Jan 2007
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
1984, for me, was a last minute choice for a dreaded critical essay in order to pass my English exam. However, I found it to be incredibly interesting and at some points frightening as to the extent it could be compared to real life. A great plot and fairly easy to follow storyline but an even more fantastic meaning when you dig deep into it. The only down side for me was the ending, which, to this day I do not understand. I have asked numerous English teachers, being given a wide variety of authors.

This is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to anyone.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Amazing, Genius, Masterpiece I could go on and on, 6 Sep 2006
Belonging to a Book Club ensures that you read books you wouldn't otherwise read. Sometimes you get a real turkey other times you get a masterpiece and, wow! this book is a masterpiece.

Set in 1984 in Oceania, this book tells the story of one man's journey to find the truth and ultimately freedom in a very brutal totalitarian regime under the ever watchful eye of Big Brother and the thoughtpolice.

If you are looking for a book which has a good story, brilliantly, beautifully written, suspense, and is thought provoking, this is the book to read. Some people say that to write one master piece in your life time is luck, but to write two (Animal Farm) is pure genius.

George Orwell didn't just write a book he wrote a legacy for future generations. Anyone who is concerned about the erosion of free speech and the freedom to be heard should read this book.
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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Paperback - 3 Jan 2013)
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