A satire on the horrors of totalitarianism, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is set in a society run by Big Brother where people are made to conform to orthodoxy by the Thought Police. Winston Smith yearns for truth and liberty, but he comes to realize that he cannot outwit the forces at work.
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.