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Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin Modern Classics)
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change
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on 23 August 2017
Having always wanted to read '1984', I finally took the plunge and purchased it. Will not delve into the plot, or even the quality of the product, it was as any new book purchase would be - film wrapped, with not a crease in sight.

As the prefix to this review states; I found this book a real page turner. I always thought it was a science fiction piece, I was wrong. It's more political sattire, but is not a chore to read. I was captured, desperate to find out what happened next. It definitely gave me many mixed emotions - which is unusual in me, regards to fiction - and found myself asking many questions about the novel, and also asking many questions about the world we live in today. The book really does serve as a warning to generations following its publish about the dangers of dystopian rule. It has such significance in todays world, that it coined its trademark phrase "Orwellian".

I will say however, that reading the publishers introduction ( Thomas Pynchon ) isn't essential - I usually like to read from start to finish - and if anything, contains a slight spoiler, so my advice would be to read the novel first, and then move on to the publishers note. It's basically a synopsis on Orwell ( real name, Eric Arthur Blair ) and his ideology.

There is much debate concerning the 'appendix', which you are introduced to rather early. Being set in my ways, I opted to read this last ( it's at the end of the book, after all ). The opposing views are that it is part of the novel, the other merely a discourse on the official language used in the fictional world... Read it and make up your own mind!
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on 10 February 2018
I must admit i was disappointed with 1984. I had always heard great things about it, and that it was an interesting comment on where a controlling government could take a country. Unfortunately i found it a bit boring. If you're looking for a story of subterfuge and underground intrigue this isnt it. Its more of a story on how people think, how they feel, when at any moment they can be taken away and tortured or killed. Winston, our protagonist, begins to rebel in subtle ways while desperately trying not to standout and become a target. There are moments of interest, but towarss the end I was losing the will to go on and wanted the end to come sooner.
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on 7 February 2015
If you are someone who bears any amount of skepticism, small or large as to the nature of government and the distribution of power under which we exist, then this book will not disappoint. If on the other hand you do not question the way in which you as a person may have been influenced, let alone misled by society and those in power, then you will probably not find this book interesting. I think this differentiation is also alluded to in the book, ie that if you are sensitive to such matters, then even if only on a subconscious level you are already aware of them. A good party member is therefore one who readily accepts and believes in the prescribed doctrine, without having to undergo too much persuasion! Written in the 1940s, it remains uncannily pertinent. Thankfully, society here in the UK (at time of writing), has not evolved into such a draconian monster as that of Big Brother, but there are many interesting parallels to be contemplated. One of the best books I have read in a while!
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on 16 January 2015
This is a brilliant novel,an all-time classic of world literature that deserves to stand next to the field's greatest monuments on the shelves.It's neither sensationalistic or a heavy academic tome,but rather a balanced account of Orwell's scathing dislike of oppressive and totalitarian regimes.

It is also an open and maverick novel of humanity with all too human characters within the party,struggling against a tyranny it can't hope to beat in modern times.The ordinary proles are Winston Smith's faith that the awful government will be overthrown in the far future.They seem oblivious of the ruling government and seem to thrive under it.The delicate balance between the unchanged common class and the new,repressed party workers,is an important factor that shapes the novel's greatness and appeal.

This is a novel of strong character depicting a diabolical tyranny and the strength of the human spirit to at least try and conquer it.All of Orwell's apparent socialist views and what he saw as the dangerous flaws inherent in it,can be seen in this great book.
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on 17 November 2015
Despite the ubiquitous use of "big brother" and "room 101" these days this novel still has things to say about society and political control that are lost in the morass of popular culture. The only thing I don't like is the chunk in the middle of Emmanuel Goldstein's seminal work - it is a political tract and written as one, but it jars with the rest of the narrative and is frankly rather dull, even though it is essential to the point Orwell is making. The destruction of Winston and Julia as individuals and reduction of them to submissive, unthinking fodder still packs a punch though. Maybe the proles in their blissful ignorance really do have a better deal, though it would be impossible to choose that existence. I think.
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on 7 February 2018
West European Governments are now incorporating a lot of the content into policy and law.
Laws against speech in the name of free speech. Laws against the internet to promote a safe internet, Government bodies to monitor the Press, huge amounts of surveillance to keep you safe, every call, text and email stored, Super-State Government that punishes you if you try and leave. The list goes on, and it;s getting worse.
So if you want to read the future, buy this book
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This is, of course, an absolute classic which I revisited after many years. There are so many things in this book which, have you not read it, you will be aware of without perhaps knowing where they come from: "Big Brother" and "Room 101" being possibly the most well known, but the text is peppered throughout with the familiar.

This, then, is the story of Winston Smith, who is forty years old, who works at the Ministry of Truth rewriting history and who lives in Victory Mansions in London. This, though, is the London of Orwell's imagination, set in a future where all members of the Party are permanently watched and anything individualistic is forbidden. Yet, from almost the first page, Winston begins to write a forbidden diary. Before long he has embarked on a forbidden love affair, with Julia, the girl from the fiction department.

This was George Orwell's last novel and it is an utter masterpiece. Although there are obvious historical parallels, this becomes something completely unique. It is sinister, tragic and yet , somehow, it contains much which is positive and joyful. Winston Smith himself realises that nothing will change within his lifetime, yet there is a sense that people will eventually rise up against oppression. This is certainly a book which will stay with you and make you think, even so many years after it was written and set, it is a relevant and thought provoking read.
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on 1 January 2015
1984 is a dark and gripping read, a classic book that it difficult to put down. Set in a dystopian future in which independent thinking is outlawed and extensive government surveillance is the norm, the subject matter is dark and at times quite gruesome. The plot follows Winston Smith, an employee of the ironically named Ministry of Truth, whose job is to rewrite historical newspaper articles to reflect the current agenda of the ruling Inner Party. Winston dreams of rebelling against the tyrannical government and the omnipresent 'Big Brother'.

Although quite chilling in places, the writing is quite simple despite the use of Newspeak - a government created language intended to limit free-thinking. The story is exciting and gripping, and the characters feel real. 1984 is a must-read.
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on 11 December 2017
Having read this book too many years ago and as a translation, and with all the increasing "public control" through massive internet monopolies and government "security measures" all around the world, I felt it deserved a second and careful reading.
The overall story of the book is itself very carefully and creatively structured, though one may argue that it's not the best story compared to others. On the other hand, the political gems all around the book, including its visionary look into how a future authoritarian will look like (and how that resembles today), cannot be just ignored and definitely makes the book deserve a 5 star. Maybe it's not as concise and to the point as Orwell's masterpiece Animal Farm, but on the other hand it does the job of providing gory details, including on the psychological tortures and the continuous "big brother watching everyone all the time"...
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on 19 February 2014
The most important part of this book is the Appendix on "Doublespeak". I never fully understood what this meant until I actually read this book, even though I'd heard the phrase many times in conversation over the years. Then the nightmare Blair government made sense to me in a second. Then the look of horror came over my face when I realised that the BBC, the Labour government and the useless technocrats in the British government and Civil Service all basically employ this book as a user manual. It is terrifying, but important to be aware of how Blair and his corrupt government ruined the UK by employing the techniques outlined in this book.
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