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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

versus
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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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Best books are those that tell you what you know already", 26 April 2007
By 
ಠ_ಠ (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
It is very difficult to review a book that means so much to several generations. To me, the words of Winston Smith himself, summarise it perfectly: "The best books... are those that tell you what you know already".

We know from history that some of the most terrible things happen because the majority lets them happen, looks on in silence and does nothing, naively believing that they are safe and it will never happen to them. One small step to curb our freedom, which may seem perfectly reasonable at the time and even for our own good, may unfold into a nightmare if no one speaks out, engrossed in their daily drudgery, football and lottery. To me personally this is the most important message of "1984", Orwell's timeless legacy to us. It is up to every one of us to make sure in our lifetime that his prophecy never comes true.

1984 is a truly painful book to read, projecting the worst sense of hopelessness and dread that I have ever read on paper. I think it is one of the most important and compelling books ever written. Without exaggeration, it will change your life. It forces you to look at yourself and the world around you and think, think, think.

For a different perspective on the eternal theme of an individual versus state, I also highly recommend "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess, "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro and "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ITS HERE NWO, 21 April 2012
This novel stands out as one of a kind. Understandably it made some impact at the time, presumably due, in part, to the fact that Hitler and Nazi Germany were relatively fresh in peoples minds. Orwell took the Nazi regime, amongst others, and perfected it, even giving reference to this through one of his characters.
The story is dark and the characters flawed and realistic. That is the beauty of 1984. The plot and characters are so realistic that it becomes frightening. Orwell anticipates every conceivable question about the world he created and all are answered within the book. One of the things I love about it is that Winston is not your average hero, in fact at points in the book you actually dislike him.1984 was intended as a social statement, there is much to be said about this, but as this is a review and not a discussion, so suffice to say that it will give you plenty to think about, in particular the repression of free speech, the fear that gives acceptance to totalitarianism and the hopelessness of standing alone.Orwell was one of the founding members of this NWO were struggling against , he knew what was going to happen because he was in the clique that planned it all.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but very depressing, 15 Aug 2009
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I have never been told so many times by so many people (all of whose opinions I respect) about a book I must read. So when I finally got around to reading 1984, there was almost a sense of relief about it. That sanguine mood quickly evaporated. Yes it's a clever parody of a world without free thinking and the pain someone feels who wishes to question the reality with which is presented - but it's simply too depressing. Like a funeral that never ends.

1984 has ubiquitous comparisions with communism, but I think comparisions can be made with absolutely any group which has an absence of critical thinking. To some extent that includes nearly all groups as they all have something axiomatic which serves as an unquestioned foundation. For that reason the story for me isn't just about groupthink etc it's really about the pain and misery someone who thinks for themselves can feel when they are in an environment which shuns such thinking.

The philosopher Descartes said: "I think, therefore I am" and what he meant by this was you could never fool a dead person into thinking so if you think you must be alive. I'd go one step further in that, I'd believe the more one is thinking and questioning the more one is actually really living their own life rather than just residing their mind in cloned thought.

I really felt every ounce of pain for poor Winston and really found the entire narrative very depressing. I accept 1984 is a seminal piece of writing and I am greatly impressed words such as "doublespeak, groupthink, thought crime, big brother" made it into political lexion.
But 1984, at times made a dreary Radiohead tune feel like a nice family picnic in the Summer in comparison. It's a very clever book but because it's central tenets can be applied to so many aspects of life, the nihilistic undertones would make me suggest yes you should read this book but have a very happy activity planned for as soon as you are finished.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't escape the after effects, 6 Oct 2001
By A Customer
of this quietly desolate, yet vocally loud masterpiece. I was drawn to this book having read Animal Farm, and to put such a great book as that in the shade shows just how disturbing and affecting this novel is. If you know the Smashing Pumpkins, you'll understand how "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans" took up 1984's mantle after I had finished the book. I may have turned the last page, but this is a book I will never feel prepared for again. Orwell is a genius.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and Shocking, 28 Oct 2004
By 
Gregory "g_campbell1" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-Four (Paperback)
This is a great book. It truely is one of the most compelling novels I've read. It is regarded as a classic, and has good reason to be. It has spawned a paranioa in the population that has culminated in the human rights movements and modern liberalist ideals: it has even created the popular Channel Four series' of Big Brother.
This book is set in a time when all humans are watched by the all powerful "Party". The Party exacts a complete control and are able to watch everyone at anytime through 'telescreens'. Even history is re-written when the state swops sides in an international war so no one can proove they once fought for the other side.
However, a few indivuals fight back. A few indivduals have a sense of pride and of freedom. However can they beat the almighty Party? And will they crack if caught?
The pace quickens and the plot thickens: you cannot turn the pages quickly enough....
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Affirming, 23 Sep 2006
By 
J. T. Hooker (Albion) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
1984 is one of those rare books that genuinely changes your outlook on life and the way in which you perceive society as a whole.

There's so much that could be said about Orwell's masterpiece, but I don't think I could word it quite as well as he did. His radical take on "neo-feudalism" and the class system is something that is becoming ever more relevant today, particularly in England - where 1984 is set, and based on.

Can you believe that this book was written scarcely three years after the war?

I think everyone should read 1984 at least once. It puts things into perspective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four, 19 Jan 2004
By A Customer
As an A-level text I expected Nineteen-Eighty-Four to be rather unengaging. It was not. The tale of Winston Smith, living in a totalitarian society and firmly convinced throughout that he is outwitting it is bittersweet. On the one hand it is a tale of hope, of finding one person who will stand by you and make a dreary and (completely) controlled life bearable. On the other, there is always the feeling that Winston is about to be discovered and when he is, the consequences are appalling. Torture, fear and routine combine with love, hope and desperation to provide a truly horrific vision of the future. Now, in my second year of an English degree I find myself returning to Nineteen-Eighty-Four for pure enjoyment value.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book more valid today than ever, 14 Jun 2001
By 
Trevil (London, UK) - See all my reviews
One of the things that make 1984 such an important work of political fiction is the fact that it was written during a period of unprecedented political instability. It was the end of the world's great imperial powers and the rise of a new age of politics. Democracy, Fascism and Communism were vying for dominance and the outcome of this struggle could not be predicted. 1984 looks towards a future where the world, (so far as the central character can see), has been consumed by a totalitarian regime, a form of total communism that controls all aspects of life, including the past. This book is about control; the central argument being that whosoever controls the present also controls the past . This is the fundamental theme of the book and as such is represented in several forms, the most notable being that of the ubiquitous "Big Brother". Big Brother, is the pillar upon which the entire system rests, for the party to maintain control over the people, he must been seen as being above error, above judgement and above criticism. In a system that has disposed of a conventional religion, God (the symbol of moral purity) must be replaced.
"If there were no God, then God must be created" -Voltaire
The moment Winston opens his diary begins a spiral of events that he knows will effectively destroy him. "A tremor had gone through his bowels. To mark the paper was the decisive act." (Pg 9) Orwell makes it clear that this seemingly innocuous act is a fundamental turning point in the book, and from this point onward Winston is effectively dead. Winston's refusal to submit to "doublethink", to let go of his memories of the past lead him to increasingly extreme violations of the unwritten rules of the party. "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted all else follows."(Pg 84) In order to counteract the rigid system Winston begins a love affair, this allows him to experience extremes of emotions, to partake in the impurity so despised by the party, and to allow him to believe that his mind is free to look beyond that which is presented to him. This results in, as he always knew, incarceration in the Ministry of Love. Even though Winston knew that he would be subjected to torture and eventually confess to anything, he believed that his mind would always be his own. But as in any culture, individualism is determined and limited by society. When everything in the society is controlled and sterile, individualism is confined accordingly. When the only information available to you is that 2+2=5, then that can be the only truth.
1984 is the definitive work of political fiction for the modern age, it can be interpreted in many ways but whatever your viewpoint this is a book that will alter your very perception of the world in which you live. I would implore anyone to take the time to read this at least once.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As essential as breathing., 2 Feb 2004
By 
J. C. Eames "Winston" (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly I'd like to say that this book changed my life. I know this is a cliche'd expression, however I will try to explain why.
Reading was not always a pastime of mine until I picked up The Lord of the Rings whihc I greatly enjoyed as I lost myself in the story through Tolkien's brilliant story telling. This lead me to want to read other books. My brother bought me 'Animal Farm' and of course '1984'. I had read 'Animal Farm' previously but that was at school and as a more mature reader appreciated it a lot more. Then I read '1984'. I had heard of big brother (this being before the 'reality' series) and also of 'room 101' but only married the first to this book.
This book has made me, since reading it, more cynical and paraniod more so than before anyway. It lead me to reading 'Brave New World' and 'Farenheit 451' which alone would make it essential. However it is essential reading for so much more alone.
The story is set in the future (at the time, Orwell swapping 1948 to 1984) where there is a totalitarianism regime in power. Whatever they say goes including that WAR IS PEACE, being one of the parties motto's and that a country previously warring with is now at peace and in fact was never at war with. There is also a caste system although not to the extent seen in 'Brave New World'. Primarily between the masses i.e the proletariat or the 'proles' for short and the more educated of society.
One of which is Winston Smith who works for the ministry of truth, who alter or 'correct' most media types i.e newspapers, t.v e.tc. You see the party in control of the country are never wrong EVER. If they want the country to be at war with Eastasia but the papers have been written stating otherwise then the records are altered to be factually correct.
The main heart of the story lies with Winston and his love interest Julia which is forbidden as sexual intercourse is seen now as nothing more than 'duty to society' and is treat as something disgusting but must be done. With cameras everywhere he knows this cannot last and what is enevitable and truly shocking. Look out for 'sitting under the chestnut tree' which brought me to near tears. An unmissable book which is a stark reality of modern day society more so than most people may think.
Thankyou George Orwell.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is still relevant to current times ..., 5 Feb 2009
By 
D. V. Short "Enzo Short" (Orkney, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nineteen Eighty-four (Paperback)
As the first reviewer said, this book is still relevant to current times, riveting and utterly terrifying ...
I'm amazed that there are so few reviews about this classic book. Perhaps people don't believe Big Brother is watching them.

The other relevant classic by Orwell is Animal Farm (ISBN: 0141036133)
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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (Paperback - 3 Jan 2013)
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