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1984 by George Orwell – Happy Anniversary

June 1, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”mypassionisbooks” only_single=false]We are only a week away from the June 8, 1949 Anniversary of when Nineteen Eighty-Four
was published in London and 5 days later in the U.S. I thought it was an appropriate time to discuss this great book.

1984 by George Orwell is an amazing work of fiction/satire. We have a copy that I read periodically because it’s a great book, but also because I don’t want to forget it. It is one of my most favorite books. It stands as a warning, a wake-up call, as well as a sick and sad story of a time we all hope will never happen.

Times Online posted a very good article entitled, “Frail, cowardly Winston saved us” by Robert Harris that includes, in part, the following but in no means the full article, nor really even the most important parts of the article which is a must read. Here are just a few little quotes from the article:

Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in London on Wednesday June 8, 1949 and in New York five days later. The world was eager for it. Within 12 months it had sold around 50,000 hardbacks in the UK; in the US sales were more than one-third of a million. It became a phenomenon.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a standing rebuke to all those who think history or biography can ever be superior to the novel. Big Brother, the Thought Police, Newspeak, Room 101, telescreens, Doublethink, the Two-Minute Hate, the Ministry of Love, 2+2=5, Airstrip One, unperson – one has only to list the words to realise how central Nineteen Eighty-Four has become to our collective imagination.

In an era when so much serious fiction seems designed merely for the author’s own gratification, or at best for a limited literary coterie, here is a novel with exactly the opposite intention. Orwell’s painfully tapped-out typescript (flimsy top copy and two carbons) left his hands, went out into the world and changed it.

It performed the signal service of nailing for ever certain tricks and tendencies of the ruling classes. It set us on our guard. Sixty years on, that is an achievement worth celebrating.

(BOLD emphasis mine)

How true and thank you Robert Harris. 1984 is, I believe, a very important book, particularly in the economic and political times in which we live — where individuality, liberty and freedom are challenged at every turn — to reflect on this great work of fiction by George Orwell. And hope that we will not be foolish enough to allow anything remotely like it to ever happen.

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