Yesterday, my new book Is This Book Orwellian: Understanding George Orwell’s 1984 was released. You can currently get the book on Kindle as well as in paperback in every country except the United States — because for some reason Amazon told me it was sold out in the United States and only the United States. I must admit, I’ve never had this happen before, but I assume that’s a good sign.
As covered in the introduction and in Chapter One, I wrote this book because of my love for 1984 and George Orwell’s work in general. His themes of anti-authoritarianism and support for liberty resonated with me since I first read 1984 in 10th Grade English class. I later read Animal Farm as well as whatever other Orwell essays I could get my hands on, along with some good work inspired by Orwell. (And trust me, my biggest regret is that I didn’t have the chance to watch more work inspired by Orwell.) And I’m far from the only one, considering this book has gotten basically nothing but universal praise when it was first released and has since become one of the most famous novels in human history, as well as the most famous novel of the 20th century.
Figuring out how to style this book was rather hard. Part of me wanted to just do an annotation of 1984 — but I quickly ran into issues with length and more importantly copyright (although if 1984 ever goes into the public domain, I would gladly write a full annotated version), as such, I decided to just write about a handful of major ideas expressed in the novel pulling from not just the novel itself, but also what inspired Orwell as well as more modern examples that some have compared to the novel. The second one is also rather important, with a book as deeply influential in popular culture as George Orwell’s 1984, I made sure to connect the book with as many real-world examples as possible in order to show that the world Orwell wrote about has already entered our world in a number of ways.
This is not to say that any nation, let alone the United States, is 100% the same as Oceania — that would be an obvious exaggeration. This is to say that certain aspects of his novel have not only entered into our world, but have also become so commonplace in our world that we simply do not question them. Some aspects of the novel simply cannot be stopped, not because of the actions of some government that cannot be overthrown, but because they are not things that can be avoided. They are parts of humanity, they could even be considered parts of our very nature.
I’m trying to keep things vague in order to get you to interested in the book, but it’s rather hard considering I’ve spent months writing it. All I can say is that if enjoyed reading 1984, enjoy talking about 1984, and enjoy talking about politics, authoritarianism, and philosophy in general, you’ll enjoy the book. Personally, I rather enjoyed writing it, so I hope that translates into enjoyment for someone out there.