Americans Flock to Read Orwell's '1984' as Reality Mirrors Fiction

Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013 01:58 PM

By Bill Hoffman

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If best-selling books accurately reflect the mood of the nation, then more and more Americans believe their government is turning into Big Brother.

Sales of "Nineteen Eighty-Four"— George Orwell's chilling tale of a futuristic, totalitarian society first published in 1949 — have been skyrocketing in recent weeks.

The Washington Examiner reports that the number of copies being sold on Amazon.com is up a whopping 69 percent. The book is up 91 percent on Amazon's "Movers and Shakers" list of trending tomes.

In "Nineteen Eighty-Four," character Winston Smith works for the "Ministry of Truth," rewriting archived newspaper articles so they support the current government thinking. But he secretly despises the ruling party — which practices torture, brain-washing, and mind control — and dreams of rebellion.

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The big question is why the renowned novel — which has been made into a movie twice, turned into a song by David Bowie, and is a staple of high-school reading lists — so hot these days?

While our government hasn't erected huge posters of a scary-looking man bellowing "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING," some suggest the mushrooming stories of government intrusion into our everyday lives is a factor.

In recent days, a National Security Agency surveillance program tracking phone records and emails has been revealed. And before that, the IRS admitted it had targeted conservative groups.

In addition, the Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors and named a Fox reporter a "co-conspirator" for his contacts with a security analyst.

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