Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

“Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Purchase at Amazon.com

“History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” George Orwell, 1984

Are you ready for some eerie predictions? George Orwell’s 1984 is an account of Winston Smith, who lives in a highly controlled society where the Party is “always right.” This fictional novel expounds on the outreach of the government to govern over its citizens.

By reviewing this book, I’m not endorsing any particular political view about the book. Instead, I believe that leaders should be well-rounded in the literature they consume, even if it’s contrary to their deeply-held beliefs. 1984 was one such book for me. I was drawn to this book because I have heard so much about it and never had read it throughout high school. I just recently listened to it, and it is now one of my favorite books.

I’ll first summarize the book, give you what I liked about it, then tell you what I didn’t like.

Summary

The novel follows Winston Smith through his daily activities. Smith’s aversion to ‘the party’ takes form as he begins within his own mind. He’s always being watched by Big Brother, so any attempt to overtly protest is futile.

Smith lives in a time of absolute government control. Big Brother monitors movement through cameras, screens, and programs designed to preserve the integrity of the Party. Being disgruntled at the omnipresent Big Brother, Smith begins to journal his misgivings in a small cubical in his apartment just out of sight of the camera.

His eventual lover, Julia, becomes an escape for Winston. Between the monotonous routines and the Victory Gin, Julia was a rebellious part of his otherwise dull life. The risk of capture, and subsequent interrogation in Room 101, was not enough to stop Winston and Julia from seeing each other.

1984 is an explanation of how a totalitarian government rules its people. The Party is always right. Thoughts that oppose the Party are considered crimes. Disobedience is punishable by whatever means the government has at its disposal.

Buy 1984

What I liked

I don’t usually read fiction novels. But 1984 is now one of my favorite books because of the concepts it addresses. How should a government censor its people, if at all? What does it mean to protest? Why should the government be afraid of its people? Orwell addresses these questions in an intricate novel brilliantly written in 1949.

I can draw parallels from the novel to modern-day. Think about how many screens we have in our daily lives. Screens, cameras, and listening devices surround our existence, just like Winston. Ultimately, we have to be the ones to decide how much these devices can intrude into our lives. Also, it warns us about governments using technology to take advantage of its people. It’s an interesting thought exercise that’s worth exploring.

Most of all, this book helped me realize my own role in society. How can I affect change within my sphere of influence? Orwell draws out the comparisons between real life and the fictional world of Winston Smith.

I listened to the audiobook. The material was captivating, and the narration was excellent. I don’t think that readers lose any part of the book by consuming it through audio or traditional reading. If you have read some of Orwell’s other books, you’ll see a familiar tone to 1984 like in his other books.

What I didn’t like

I entertained some disturbing thoughts because of this book. One question that occupied my mind was, why do we hate each other so much? This thought exercise is bound to draw some grim conclusions. Orwell was an expert at bringing that out.

I cannot critique Orwell’s writing itself. It’s superbly written, and I couldn’t do it any better. I wish that he wrote a book called 1985: The Year Without The Party. Alas, we’ll never have such a book.

Conclusion

Winston is a sad example of what happens when people fully succumb to their environments. Although we have doubts, misgivings, and difficulties with the mainstream, we often live within the very society that we grow to loath. In my opinion, that’s the root of the book.

Leaders need to read fiction books. Thought-provoking novels like 1984 help leaders to think critically about their environments and potential issues that may arise. Authors explain injustices through novels and stories because they’re relatable. I would be remiss if I didn’t read this book. I am better off for it.

Overall, I give this book a 10/10. Read this! If you haven’t already, get yourself a copy. If you want to buy it, click here.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell”

  1. C.N. says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent book review, Robert! I have read this book, and it’s predicted the world that we live in today. This may be a controversial opinion, but I fully believe that we are on the verge of martial law and the New World Order. In light of the current pandemic and rioting, the government is trying to exercise more control over every aspect of our lives-when we come out of our homes, what we can do, what we can say (just look at social media censorship), where we can go, what we have to wear, who is able to own a gun, etc. As a devout Christian, i fully believe that George Orwell’s book is foretelling the period of Revelation, which we are currently living in. I don’t worry, however, as I’m covered in the blood of Jesus Christ (praise God!). Great read! God bless you!

    1. Robert says:

      Carletta,

      I appreciate your opinion. My hope is that excellent leadership can help us navigate these difficult times. It’s important to look at how we can change and make things better. Thank you for your comment!

      Robert

  2. Ryzehn says:

    Thanks for the review! After reading this article, I feel like this would be an interesting book to read. I don’t really read fiction novels like this much, but this sounds pretty interesting. I might pick it up when I have the time. I appreciate this, more books to add to my collection!

    1. Robert says:

      Ryzehn,

      It’s ok if you’re not a fan of fiction. I’m not a huge fiction fan, either. I found this book interesting and relevant to leaders today. Thanks for your comment!

      Robert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post