Orwell's famed book rose to No. 6 on Amazon's bestseller list
The book imagines propaganda in an authoritarian state
2017 has been “doubleplusgood” for sales of George Orwell’s “1984.”
The famed dystopian novel of life in a totalitarian state sat at No. 6 on Amazon’s bestseller list Tuesday morning. On Monday, too, the book hovered between No. 5 and No. 7 on that same bestseller list, as CNN’s Brian Stelter noted in his Reliable Sources newsletter.
First published in 1949 and imagining a future authoritarian society, “1984” is widely regarded as one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. Its state, Oceania, employs a language called Newspeak (and words like “doubleplusgood”) to limit freedom of thought.
The book focuses in particular on the impact of omnipresent government surveillance and the state’s use of propaganda to enforce orthodoxy to an all-powerful leader, known as “Big Brother.”
The novel’s newfound popularity comes several days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued defiantly that Trump’s swearing-in Friday drew the largest-ever audience for an inauguration “period,” despite obvious photo and statistical evidence to the contrary.
Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway later defended that argument by saying Spicer’s false claims were actually “alternative facts.”
That phrasing was reminiscent of Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth,” which, he wrote, concerns itself with “lies.”
The book’s bestseller status isn’t necessarily just due to Team Trump, as “1984” remains required reading in most schools.
The Amazon bestseller list is updated hourly, so “1984’s” time near the top may not last long. It currently sits just after Connor Franta’s “Note to Self” and before Margot Lee Shetterly’s “Hidden Figures.”
This isn’t the first time “1984” has seen a sales spike in recent years. The book also hit Amazon’s bestseller list in 2013 after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.