One of the most celebrated classics of the twentieth century, Orwell’s cautionary tale of a man trapped under the gaze of an authoritarian state feels more relevant now than ever before.
Winston Smith, a member of the outer Party, spends his days rewriting history to fit the narrative that his government wants citizens to believe. But as the gap between the propaganda he writes and the reality he lives proves too much for Winston to swallow, he begins to seek some form of escape. His desperate struggle to free himself from an all-encompassing, tyrannical state illuminates the tendencies apparent in every modern society, and makes vivid the universal predicament of the individual.
George Orwell (1903–1950) served with the Imperial Police in Burma, fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, and was a member of the Home Guard and a writer for the BBC during World War II. He is the… More about George Orwell
“Nineteen Eighty-Four is a remarkable book; as a virtuoso literary performance it has a sustained brilliance that has rarely been matched in other works of its genre…It is as timely as the label on a poison bottle.” –New York Herald Tribune
“A profound, terrifying, and wholly fascinating book…Orwell’s theory of power is developed brilliantly.” –The New Yorker
“A book that goes through the reader like an east wind, cracking the skin…Such are the originality, the suspense, the speed of writing, and withering indignation that it is impossible to put the book down.” –V. S. Pritchett
“Orwell’s novel escorts us so quietly, so directly, and so dramatically from our own day to the fate which may be ours in the future, that the experience is a blood-chilling one.” –Saturday Review
George Orwell’s life as a writer falls distinctly into two parts, and it happens that he himself dated the change precisely. On 20 August 1939, the night before Stalin’s Soviet Union signed a pact of friendship with Hitler’s Germany, Orwell dreamed that the war expected by all adults of his generation had begun, and realized that ‘I was patriotic at heart, would not sabotage or act against my own side, would support the war, would fight in it if possible.’ His dream anticipated the reality of war by no more than a couple of weeks, and although Orwell’s health made it impossible for him to enter the armed forces, he supported the aims of the war and was opposed to a negotiated peace.