"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever."
A book detailing the dangers of totalitarian state control through the medium of a highly engrossing story, 1984 is set in a future state with a government that meticulously controls all of its citizens. Published in 1949, Orwell wrote this novel with the expressed intentioned to prevent the horrors of Fascist Germany and Stalinist Russia being repeated in developed nations like Britain and the United States. Orwell recognized that with the explosive technological advancement happening around him there was a great risk of its abuse by governments.
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. "
The protagonist of 1984 is Winston Smith, a man living in a future dystopian society with a strong, pervasive government. The book tells of his rebellion against the totalitarian ideals of this state, and the consequences of such deviation. The state employs the use of 'telescreens', which both continuously expound propaganda and act as a surveillance tool. The pervasiveness of the state is so extensive that they try to manipulate peoples very perception of reality. 1984 acts as both a warning against authoritarianism and a promoter of individualism, showing the noxious effect of repression, and the emptiness of a life devoid of free will.
"All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers. "
Terminology from this immensely popular book has entered the popular lexicon; the term 'Orwellian' refers to repressive totalitarianism, and the term 'Big Brother' has been adapted to the TV show where contestants are under constant surveillance. This book can be read as both a highly interesting story as well as illustrating the dangerous, destructive nature of totalitarian governments. One of the most widely read novels in modern times, 1984 is recommended to all.