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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

1984 - Richard Brown, George Orwell This is another one of those classics that I have heard about all my life but never was assigned to me in school. Consequently I never got around to reading it until now. It is a book that certainly caught on and introduced some adjectives into common usage such as “Orwellian,” “Big Brother,” “Doublespeak,” and even “1984.” It’s a dreary story which doesn’t offer much enjoyment to the reader. It is about a distopian setting so it should be of no surprise to find little enjoyment in it.

At the time this book was written the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union had recently expanded into eastern Europe and China would soon become Communist. So the momentum of expansion appeared to be on the side of Communism. George Orwell wanted to show the down side of totalitarian governments and give a picture of what would happen if it was carried to its ultimate limits of control over people’s lives.

Some people today want to label any governmental policy they don’t agree with as being “Orwellian” or in the sprit of 1984. I prefer to refrain from doing so myself. The story in the book is so extreme I think it’s a bit of a stretch to apply it to other situations which less extreme.