The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984 (Hardback)Dorian Lynskey (author)
The most prescient of modern dystopias is 70 years old this year and, in this meticulously researched and argued ‘biography,’ journalist Dorian Lynskey evaluates just what makes George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four so compellingly relevant to the modern political landscape. A timely reminder of the power that great fiction can wield.
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2020
George Orwell's last novel has become one of the iconic narratives of the modern world. Its ideas have become part of the language - from 'Big Brother' to the 'Thought Police', 'Doublethink', and 'Newspeak' - and seem ever more relevant in the era of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'.
The cultural influence of 1984 can be observed in some of the most notable creations of the past seventy years, from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaids Tale to Terry Gilliam's Brazil, from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta to David Bowie's Diamond Dogs - and from the launch of Apple Mac to the reality TV landmark, Big Brother.
In this remarkable and original book. Dorian Lynskey investigates the influences that came together in the writing of 1984 from Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War and war-time London to his book's roots in utopian and dystopian fiction. He explores the phenomenon that the novel became on publication and the changing ways in which it has been read over the decades since.
2019 marks the seventieth anniversary of the publication of what is arguably Orwell's masterpiece, while the year 1984 itself is now as distant from us as it was from Orwell on publication day. The Ministry of Truth is a fascinating examination of one of the most significant works of modern English literature. It describes how history can inform fiction and how fiction can influence history.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 530 g
Dimensions: 223 x 145 x 39 mm
'Lynskey shows how the many possible interpretations of 1984 reflect its subject: a totalitarianism so all-encompassing it affects every aspect of life and politics. Future generations, confronted with their own evils, will no doubt find it has plently more to say.' - The Saturday Telegraph
'Engrossing and enlivening study of the origins and influence of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.' - The Sunday Times
'Everything you wanted to know about 1984 but were too busy misusing the word 'Orwellian' to ask.' - Caitlin Moran
'The Ministry of Truth is the best book I have read in a long time. Fizzing with ideas yet superbly readable, it takes us though Orwell's life and the development of twentieth-century utopias and dystopias, to the long afterlife of Orwell's greatest work, read and misread during the Cold War as simple anti-communist propaganda, then in the 1980s as a failed prophecy, before finally and frighteningly showing it as a warning for our own age. When today 1984 is scrubbed from the internet in China, Russia weaponises lies on social media, and in the West a Trump adviser talks of "alternative facts" on his Inauguration Day, Lynskey's book is both a warning and an exhortation for us all to be stubborn as Orwell was with facts, and like Winston Smith to cling to the belief that 2+2=4.' - C. J. Sansom
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