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Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.


As much a cultural and historical marker as an absorbing thriller, George Orwell’s 1984 changed and continues to change the way we think about the past and imagine the future. Perhaps the most pervasively influential novel of the twentieth century, 1984 resonates so completely have to become part of our commonplace lexicon, with words like doublethink and Big Brother (it was also Orwell who first coined the term ‘Cold War’) becoming part of the fabric of everyday life and speech.


As the critic and author Jonathan Freedland wrote about 1984, ‘it has become a shorthand for totalitarianism, for the surveillance state, for the power of the mass media to manipulate public opinion, history and even the truth.’


Yet before all of this, 1984 is also a brilliant, compelling, knife-edged thriller, dark with menace and nail-biting tension.


1984 is the story of one man, who could be everyman, Winston Smith. Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

1984 (George Orwell)

  • Publisher: Pearson Education Limited 

    ISBN: 9780141187761 

    Number of pages: 384 

    Weight: 292 g 

    Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 23 mm



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