The Ministry of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell's 1984
'The best book I have read in a long time' C. J Sansom
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...more
Dorian Lynskey writes that more people know about 1984 than know 1984. It's catchphrases have entered the common language. Big Brother. ...more
Orwell died of complications from tuberculosis in 1950, he survived 1984’s release by only 227 days (page 186, my book). 1984 was a long work in the making and Orwell was scrupulous about editing his writing. He eliminated portions of his work that he felt ...more
If you are looking for a biography of George Orwell, this is not really the book for you. Although it covers part of his life, which mainly deals with the period where he was either considering writing, or actually working on, “1984, ...more
I am not a fan of either dystopian or utopian novels! There is a lot of name dropping of authors and titles that do not interest me. I wanted it to be about Orwell, but it isn't. The superficial way it covered his time in Spain, put me off immediately. Never does it say clearly how Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War directly influenced his writing.
I find the writing long-winded.
It seems to ...more
The first part of the book could be described as a mixture of biography, history, and literary history. Lynskey does diligent work in piecing together the events and experiences of Orwell’s life that had a profound ...more
George Orwell had a long and varied life filled with lived experiences, but Nineteen Eighty-Four is probably his masterpiece.
This biography of the book itself focuses on the conversations and literary influences that forged elements of the ...more
If this book had ended a chapter sooner, I would have given it a solid five-star rating. Instead, in the last chapter, author Dorian Lynskey succumbed to the most boring, cliched, overwrought hysteria imbibed by the boring and overwrought to discover in the not-leftist-of-the-moment if not the true Big Brother, then something that could pass for Big Brother if one squints just right.
Up to that point, ...more
Lynskey's book is, of course, a biography of Orwell's most famous work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, a book which has never lost its resonance but which is steadfastly reinterpreted ...more
This is a really excellent book to read if you are a big fan of Nineteen-Eighty Four, like I am. You will need to have read Orwell's final ...more
The second part on the book looks at Nineteen Eighty-Four's enduring appeal and how it has come to mean different things in different eras. This analysis goes right up to the present day with an exploration of Nineteen Eighty-Four in the era of Brexit, Trump, post-truth and ...more
The second section, which deals with the book’s afterlife , is good too. During the Cold War the book was virtually a bible for the Hungarian ...more
The Biography of George Orwell's 1984
by Dorian Lynskey
Biographies & Memoirs , Nonfiction (Adult)
Pub Date 04 Jun 2019
I am reviewing a copy of The Ministry of Truth through Doubleday and Netgalley:
When George Orwell’s book 1984 was published in the United Kingdom on June 8 1949, a critic couldn’t help but wonder how such a timely book could exert the same power over generations to come.
Readers of the First edition of 1984 knew of only a fraction of ...more
If one loses sight of Orwell's politics (he was a Democratic Socialist), his background, struggles, and disillusionment ('Homage to Catalonia' is what one needs), it is natural to think that it was a pro-capitalist book to undermine socialism.
This book deals with this misconception and many others. A chronicle that starts from conceiving the book ...more
Trump creates his own reality and measures his power by the number of people who subscribe to it: the cruder the lies, the more power its success demonstrates.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giulani accidentally provided a crude motto for Versionland USA when he snapped at an interviewer, ...more
Part I (2/3 of the book) tells the story of Orwell's internal and external lives, going into some detail about the history of utopian and dystopian novels up to his time.
Part II (1/3 of the book) discusses the novel's impact post-publication (and, more or less, Orwell's death).
My only gripe is the absence of referring to JG Ballard in Part II. Ballard's understanding of personal fictions, ...more