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From Reflections on America, An Orwell Symposium. United States has fulfilled his analysis or prophecy by engaging in campaigns of . The transformation of official “allies” to “enemies” has happened, almost openly, . each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each.
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In contrast, in the day when weapons were simple and cheap as was the musket or rifle, for instance power tends to be decentralized. Suppose they only use it, or the threat of it, against people who are unable to retaliate? More and more obviously the surface of the earth is being parceled off into three great empires, each self-contained and cut off from contact with the outer world, and each ruled, under one disguise or another by a self-elected oligarchy. The haggling as to where the frontiers are to be drawn is still going on, and will continue for some years. The atomic bomb may complete the process by robbing the exploited classes and peoples of all power to revolt, and at the same time putting the possessors of the bomb on a basis of equality.

Unable to conquer one another they are likely to continue ruling the world between them, and it is difficult to see how the balance can be upset except by slow and unpredictable demographic changes. Over a year later, Orwell returned to his pessimistic perpetual-cold-war analysis of the postwar world. Orwell completes his repeated wrestling with the works of James Burnham in his review of The Struggle for the World Orwell notes that the advent of atomic weapons has led Burnham to abandon his three-identical-superpowers view of the world, and also to shuck off his tough pose of value-freedom.

After all, Orwell writes, the. Russian regime may become more liberal and less dangerous a generation hence. Of course, this would not happen with the consent of the ruling clique, but it is thinkable that the mechanics of the situation may bring it about. The other possibility is that the great powers will be simply too frightened of the effects of atomic weapons ever to make use of them. But that would be much too dull for Burnham. Everything must happen suddenly and completely.

He there reaffirmed his attachment to socialism but conceded that the chances were against its coming to pass. He added that there were three possibilities ahead for the world. One which, as he had noted a few months before was the new Burnham solution was that the United States would launch an atomic attack on Russia before Russia developed the bomb.

Here Orwell was more firmly opposed to such a program than he had been before. For even if Russia were annihilated, a preemptive attack would only lead to the rise of new empires, rivalries, wars, and use of atomic weapons. At any rate, the first possibility was not likely. The second possibility, declared Orwell, was that the cold war would continue until Russia got the bomb, at which point world war and the destruction of civilization would take place.

Again, Orwell did not consider this possibility very likely. The third, and most likely, possibility is the old vision of perpetual cold war between blocs of superpowers. It would mean the division of the world among two or three vast super-states, unable to conquer one another and unable to be overthrown by any internal rebellion. In all probability their structure would be hierarchic, with a semi-divine caste at the top and outright slavery at the bottom, and the crushing out of liberty would exceed anything the world has yet seen.

Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by complete severance from the outer world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilization of this type might remain static for thousands of years. Orwell perhaps, like Burnham, now fond of sudden and complete solutions considers this last possibility the worst. It should be clear that George Orwell was horrified at what he considered to be the dominant trend of the postwar world: His positive solutions to this problem were fitful and inconsistent; in Partisan Review he called wistfully for a Socialist United States of Western Europe as the only way out, but he clearly placed little hope in such a development.

His major problem was one that affected all democratic socialists of that era: And so at times Orwell was tempted by the apocalyptic preventive-atomic-war solution, as was even Bertrand Russell during the same period.

A Final Warning from George Orwell

And his hope for eventual loosening of the Russian regime, if also fitful, still rested cheek by jowl with his more apocalyptic leanings. View the discussion thread. Skip to main content. Senator Ralph Flanders Republican, Vermont pinpointed this process of rule through fear when he stated during the Korean War: As Williams put it: Orwell then proceeds gloomily: After all, Orwell writes, the Russian regime may become more liberal and less dangerous a generation hence.


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In this world, the fear inspired by the atomic bomb and other weapons yet to come will be so great that everyone will refrain from using them. Cato Institute, , pp. Dover, , 3: Veal[e] Advance to Barbarism Appleton, Wis.: Nelson, , pp. Caxton Printers, , pp. Quoted in Garrett, The People's Pottage , p. Simon and Schuster, News and World Report , December 26, , pp. Totalitarianism in Our Century New York: Harper and Row, Perennial Library, George Orwell New York: The assuming that a member of your family has been killed when they don't reappear.

Not to mention the youth leagues intended to raise children to agree with the Party. Other than that, it's simply frightening. It's a work of political fiction, obviously, but if that is something that interests you, this is horror of the worst kind. Imagine a government actively trying to limit your range of thought by creating a language where forming an opinion is impossible! It's especially frightening when you look at the treatment of people like Snowden, who is being punished for revealing that the U. Fiona And, read up on Foucault and his panoptic theory.

Aug 22, Poropopper Do you think it would be better to read the history before the fiction? The history really gives it meaning. Mar 26, Donal Lynch Is the history not more frightening then the book? Feb 22, Niels Bugge I felt it was boring, simplistic and heavy-handed, so I guess people are just giving it high ratings because they are nostalgic about its historical impact. Heck I even gave it two stars, so I'm also guilty of inflating ratings beyond the actual intertainment value ; I feel the same way about Asimovs Foundation series: The central premise of each book can be formulated in a few sentences, and the rest is just page upon page of boredom and unengaging characters.

View all 21 comments. He who controls the present controls the past. Rogerio The book was written in , way before the events described became reality. If you are reading it with hindsight alone, yeah, than you missing the point big time. The author was brilliant and the clarity and capacity of projecting himself to the future of comunism is just amazing. View all 5 comments. Ai Boa Because it is a fantastic book. Ivan This book is important because it portrays totalitarianism, and the lack of democracy, liberty, justice, and our freedom of speech in a way we mere mortals couldn't even imagine!

Those of us who have jobs and have the chance to make money can spend it on what we need, and then what we want. In a totalitarian society you couldn't do that! We get to buy whatever kind of food we want with the money we've earned. We can buy all kinds of drinks, from water to juice to coffee to alcohol. We have a huge list of coffees and tobacco and magazines and house items and technology, literally anything you might need. Whatever item you might need, there are many like it of many qualities and prices on the market, and it's up to you to decide what you want.

Speaking of what you want, you can VOTE for whoever you want, join whatever party you want, and you can even choose to be apolitical, and just not take any interest in politics if you don't want to! And you have the right to say what you want about anything in politics too, guaranteed by the universal declaration of human rights.

The people of Oceania wouldn't have the luxury we do! What Orwell is portraying and trying to say is that WE could end up like the people of Oceania some day, and that we must be careful not to let it happen. It's why people these days have a problem with their government invading an individual's privacy, even if the individual has nothing to hide! People must be aware of the never-ending threat of dictatorship so that we could HAVE our rights and our freedom, these luxuries we take for granted. Just look at North Korea. This book must be cherished. It is a warning sign, not to mention a fantastic book as well, in my opinion.

My opinion isn't important though, this book is. I hope we don't lose it as the generations go by, for we mustn't forget the relatively recent crimes against humanity committed in the name of a better world, by the hands of vicious dictators, full of lies and empty promises. I suggest you take a look at the animal farm by Orwell if you haven't already, or have decided you don't want to. It's much shorter and is very direct. I see it as a metaphorical blueprint for achieving totalitarianism, and wouldn't waste your time.

Sorry I got carried away I tried to keep it brief. Lai It describes the reality of many authoritarian state in this world. If you don't feel for it, you are living in a free world and I envy you. I live in Hong Kong. With influence from China grows day by day, we begin to see censorship, changing of historical records, disappearing citizens. Every incident described in the book I can relate to events happening around me. Attitudes of Winston and Julia, and the proles, accurately describe various mentalities for surviving under such regime.

It is so hard for me to finish reading this book, with every page heavier than the last. Miles I'm so sorry, it is heavy. Jul 10, Keli I can't truly conceive of the horror of living under a totalitarian system. Just note that even in this bleak work, Orwell has left a glimmer of hope I can't truly conceive of the horror of living under a totalitarian system. Just note that even in this bleak work, Orwell has left a glimmer of hope in the appendix.

The Usual If you think this book is a brilliant literary masterpiece then you haven't read it and there are various surveys about that suggest that lots of people who, sincerely or otherwise, claim to have read it, actually haven't. Just not very good. Though it is "dense", it is eminently readable without ever digging deeply into the text.

I read it once every couple years and keep gleaning more. Suman Roy Because you were probably expecting a story with deep characterizations of both the world and the people all wrapped in a sharp plot. While the world-building is very detailed and intricate, the plot and writing style is incredibly dull and dreary.

Why do people rate this book so high? Surely I am missing something.

The reason people are so fond of this book, is the same reason that Ayn Rand's books are famous: And in that sense it is brilliant. The ideas and themes in this novel are not subtext but just text. Bringing those ideas to the front makes for dull story-telling but exceptional point-making. A point, I should point out, which is even more relevant today. M it depends what you are reading it as a it's a dystopia and not pleasant to read b following from 'a ' even the main character isn't really a nice character or a hero type. BUT I think it portrays human being very well unfortunately: I could just read Orwell's thought about how language can be used to influence human thinking.

Which again is so relevant today Cristian Miron This book has endless ramifications to our daily life. Even more, it's a scarry idea shown in the book, that "Power is not a means, it is an end". You understand well enough HOW the Party maintains itself in power. Now tell me WHY we cling to power. What is our motive?

Why should we want power? The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.

The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.

The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me? Karen I had to read this in high school. I felt it was inappropriate for my age group at that time. Mind you, that was back in the 60's. I hated it then, and would not recommend it even now. Though perhaps if I tried to read it again at this age, I'd get more out of it. Jess This book is so good because not only does it have such strong historical connections, but it incredibly relevant to today's society.

It provides a terrifying view of what the future could look like if we allow ourselves to become completely controlled by the media, and how humanity has the capacity to lose all original thought and uniquity. It shows the darker side of humanity - the cold, loveless, conformist society which Orwell hypothesizes that we have the capacity to become. Even now, unorthodoxy is frowned upon, people are encouraged to be 'normal.

Listened to this book on a recommendation of a coworker that loved it so much she had a quote from it tattooed on her side. Well, she owes me 12 hours of my life, and I hope she knows a good laser tech to remove her ink. Horrible book, the only interesting part of it is that the term Big Brother is originated here I assume. The worst part is that this book seems to be some sort of "Emperor's New Clothes" for the elitist. If you didn't like the book it must be because it was too deep for you or only intelligent people grasp the concept.

Hogwash , I say!! Zoomorph Because they haven't read enough books, or enough better books, to put it in it's proper perspective. You are unable to remember real events and you persuade yourself that you remember other events which never happened. The novel is thought provoking and teaches you that there are those who abuse their power to the extent of mind control and brainwashing the masses.


  • Why do people rate this book so high? — Q&A!
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  • It teaches you how valuable independent thought truly is. Be thankful there aren't any real thought police attempting to control each and every direction your mind wanders. Caitlin "Sparkie" Wilma, its ok your are not alone. I that the book is soo deep that sometimes it can be hard for the readers to connect. I recommend reading the book and if you don't see all of the hidden metaphors and symbols re-read and look for them which might help you spot them and then understand the "message" of the book.

    Haii This answer contains spoilers… view spoiler [Why? The level of irony is amazing, the dry humour is something i appretiate, and the humanity in Winston and Julia The imagination of the writer considering the year he wrote that , I loved every part of it. The end even made me cry, it was so horrible, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

    All in all, I love the writing style, the imagination, the plot, the characters, the despair so-- clearly it's my kind of book! Lol, just because it's not within your preferences doesn't mean it's overrated. We all got different tastes, that's why we have genres! Mark Lavin If nothing else, this book describes what could happen.

    George Orwell and the Cold War: A Reconsideration

    And as you read it, you recognize that we may be headed down this path. Elijah You would have to think deeper than, why does people rate this book so high.

    It is one of the great classics of the world. Surely there is more meaning into the book then you think.

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    Luiza Maybe you're missing the factt that this book isn't supposed to be an escape from real life, bursting in Hollywood productions, but rather, a deeper view into the life we live now. The purpose of it is to make the readers open up their minds and start seeing the current society for what it really is. The fact that we might be missing something is the main thing Orwell wanted us to start noticing. It's not meant to tell a story after all, it's supposed to make us start really realizing the stories that happen all around us.

    How can we be sure we're not living in , and how can we be sure not seeing the brilliance in it is not an act of orthodoxy? I'm not saying it is, because I really can't judge anyone when I don't know them.

    Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

    All I'm saying is that you might want to please start making an effort to see how ties with your own life, because that's the genius aspect of it. We can be blind to everything around us like the characters in the book itself, and not recognize the link exists, and that makes the book in fact kinda futile. Vibhore Gupta It is not the the plot or the characters or the perception of the future as such. What I loved about the book is the net of thoughts that the author continues to weave throughout the book. Fairly easy read but when you apply it on what has happened throughout the history and what is currently happening in the world, you cannot help but appreciate the author for the genius that he is.

    Simple things like "It is easy to love a person than a party", "doublethink", etc. William Devinney You know what? I was thinking the same thing. It's kinda a bust at the end. Tia Because it gives us a sense of reality and the thought that this book could happening. Heck it's already happening! Being traced by the government. That's all real, it's just not public knowledge. This book was written in and knowing that George Orwell had the thought process and the idea to write a book of this depth has got be revealing in the truth that this idea in is a hidden agenda that is to be because of Big Brother, and the Elitists There is so much truth hidden behind this book Ronan Hannan It manages to both a very deep and also very entertaining book - very difficult to do both.

    The deep books are often dry and the entertaining books are often empty. Maansi Suri It shows the future in an accurate way. Zitlali Valdez I believe the book is rated so high simply because some of the things that are mentioned in the book is in our near future. Douglas Beagley This book is rated high because of its cultural impact and the power of its ideas, not because it is a well-written novel. Orwell thinks long lectures stuck inside prose can still be a good novel.