Orwell's 1984 definitive book of the 20th century

george_orwell_eric_blair_nuncscio.jpg At least according to a Guardian Reader's Poll. I would tend to agree. Propaganda, government intrusion in to provate life, non-stop warfare against largely imagined enemies? Yep, that sounds about right.

Anyone who has read 1984 would agree it's an eerily prescient book. We may not have degenerated into the grey horror that inhabits Orwell's dystopia, but as the you read his words there's always the sense that Oceania is a few wrong turns away. As our civil liberties are progressively eroded in the post 9-11 world, Orwell's vision seems as urgent as ever.

This is also a great opportunity to plug some of Orwell's lesser-known work. Sure, 1984 is a masterpiece. But Orwell's essays are incredible. I suggest Why I Write as a start. There's also all of his other novels- Burmese Days, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Coming Up For Air- each very different, but each very good.

I will leave you with the words of the great man himself:

Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. -Politics and the English Language, 1946