2017 Is The New 1984: Why George Orwell's Book Is A Bestseller Again

RealClear Contributor


Science fiction fans are fond of Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four," a book about a future that is controlled by an entity known as Big Brother. Published in 1949, the book is suddenly surging to the top of the bestseller lists again. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four

It's impossible to know exactly why a book written 68 years ago would become a bestseller again seemingly out of nowhere, though pundits are coming up with their own conclusions for this new surge in popularity. 

Popular Again

The book centers around Winston Smith, an employee of the Ministry of Truth. It's more or less a government-run propaganda mill that alters and makes up news at will. And this is not the first time it has suddenly become popular again. The book also experienced a sales spike in the early 1980s, for reasons obviously having to do with the title of the tome. 

"Nineteen Eighty-Four" saw a newfound surge in popularity again in 2013, after Edward Snowden blew the whistle on America's surveillance of its own citizens. Citizens of the world put forth in the book are constantly monitored for potential future crimes. 


As of the writing of this piece, George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is Amazon's number 1 bestseller in books. The Kindle version of the book is free. According to copyright laws, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is now part of the public domain. The book has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, based on more than 4,800 reviews.

Since its publication, the book has often been held up as an example of the horrors of absolute power and total governmental control. And because of the universal truths it still holds despite the seemingly outrageous setting, it continues to strike a chord in readers -- and it's still being talked about by the most polished and popular political pundits. 


A slogan used in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is "who controls the past, controls the future." So maybe George Orwell is the true authoritarian in this book drama...because for nearly 70 years, his book has remained relevant, talked-about and in the news. Talk about absolute power.

Share this story before you go to get your own new copy of "Nineteen Eighty-Four." And please remember, Big Brother IS watching.



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