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Saturday 27 February 2021

Sales of George Orwell's '1984' up 6,000% since US surveillance scandal

The disclosure of the American authorities’ surveillance programmes has led to a spike in the novel that has become synonymous with government overreach.

George Orwell
George Orwell
Image: Associated Press Photo

SALES OF THE George Orwell classic ’1984’ have increased by 6,000 per cent in the days since it was revealed that US intelligence services have been conducting widespread surveillance programmes.

The classic 1949 novel tells the story of Winston Smith, a member of the government working for the fictional dictatorship known as Oceania. Dissatisfied with his work, he dreams of rebellion against totalitarianism and his masters in the Ministry of Truth.

The novel has become a byword for government oppressiveness, overreach and surveillance of people with the newly-disclosed PRISM surveillance scheme used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) being itself described as ‘Orwellian’.

Amazon’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ list has shown the novel jump from 7,636 to 123 in recent days. Penguin, which publishes the novel, told NBC News that it believes the jump in sales is linked to the NSA/PRISM scandal.

Business Insider has a good explainer of what ’1984’ is all about.  The novel became a feature-length movie starring John Hurt which was made in, er, 1984:

YouTube: MisterMaxHeadroom

Read: This is the man responsible for one of the biggest leaks in US history

Read: George W. Obama? Here’s how the HuffPo is covering the US surveillance scandal

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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