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1984 Audiobook

1984: New Classic Edition

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: The ultimate dystopia. 1984 has come and gone, but Orwell is still as poignant as ever. Simon Prebble's narration, enriched with forboding music and effects, provides the perfect blend of seriousness and disaffection. Writ large in audio and rendered scarier than Stephen King on a late-night country-road drive, it makes you wonder all over again how right Orwell was. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

Blackstone Audio presents a new recording of this dramatically popular book.

George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote.

Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

The year 1984 has come and gone, yet George Orwell's nightmare vision of the world we were becoming in 1949 is still the great modern classic portrait of a negative Utopia.

©1949 Harcourt Brace and Company, renewed ©1977 Sonia Brownell Orwell; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Nominee, 2008 Audie Award, Classic

"It is probable that no other work of this generation has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness." (New York Times, 1949)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (8147 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Victor Destefano 04-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great performance, chilling story"
    What made the experience of listening to 1984 the most enjoyable?

    Great performance by narrator, Simon Prebble. In this alarming tale of absolute power corrupting absolutely, we can clearly see how aspects of Orwell's imagined dystopia in our own modern world.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of 1984?

    The methodical and total breaking of Winston Smith.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    All of the were performed flawlessly.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Clearly it would have to be, "Big Brother is Watching."


    Any additional comments?

    This book acts a great reminder that man has no single dark side, but many. While this book is fiction, it's a must read for everybody who fears that freedom is an easy thing to lose when you're either not vigilant or you allow yourself to be distracted or fooled.

    George Orwell wrote this novel only a few years after fascists tried to control all of Europe and Asia and reminds us that those fascists were only powerful because, before they won battles by force, they won hearts and minds by propaganda and manipulation.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john Carmichael, CA, United States 08-28-12
    john Carmichael, CA, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself! I am a high school graduate with some college. I am 56 and have been a construction worker my whole life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "1984 is now"
    Where does 1984 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    About one of the best ive listen to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like how the story, although about a future time, applies to today.


    What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The performance was great. Even taking on female personal with professional ability.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    1984 is Now.


    Any additional comments?

    Of course you have heard of this book, or read it. Read it now (or listen) Now you are older and it will make more sense. I listened twice to make sure i got it all. There is much there.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Kindler 05-24-16
    The Kindler 05-24-16 Member Since 2014

    Science, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military History, Thrillers, Great Courses, Horror, and anything with a good story. Please forgive errors.

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    "Big Brother knows."

    This book told the fear of the time and captured the paranoia to a tea. I still think that it is an important read for any time and generation but should also be taken with a grain of salt for those with less knowledge of the era. George Orwell captures the west's fear of the spread of totalitarianism and too much government.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mickey Burns West Jordan, Utah USA 08-14-12
    Mickey Burns West Jordan, Utah USA 08-14-12

    musicnbeer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Believe the hype"
    If you could sum up 1984 in three words, what would they be?

    Dark unforgettable classic


    What did you like best about this story?

    The futuristic story, spooky plot and overall depth of the story.


    What about Simon Prebble’s performance did you like?

    Good change in tone for various characters


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes - after it really got rolling.


    Any additional comments?

    The review said this book was like a Stephen King novel and it was right! Hard to believe this book is 60+ years old, but easy to understand why it is on every classic book list. This is the kind of book that you keep thinking about long after you have read it and raises the bar on the types of book you will want to read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frederick COLLEYVILLE, TX, United States 03-28-12
    Frederick COLLEYVILLE, TX, United States 03-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "I own nearly 200 audiobooks..."

    And still after 5 or 6 listen's it is the best of them all. Absolutely us an audible essential.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig A. Godeke Montreal, QC Canada 05-02-10
    Craig A. Godeke Montreal, QC Canada 05-02-10 Member Since 2015
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    "Deserves its classic status"

    The novel is brilliant and still relevant, 60 years after it was published and 25 years after the date of its title.
    The narration is excellent and helped make me a convert to audio books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-13-12
    Sher from Provo Utah 06-13-12 Member Since 2015

    Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.

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    "It still gives me the creeps"

    I read this book a long, long time ago, but couldn't remember it at all so I decided to reread it. I am sure my life experiences and the perspective that comes with time have turned it into a much better book than I remembered it being. I found myself rooting for Winston, praying that he would have the strength of character to stand up and be the catalyst for change in this futuristic society, but he was so trapped on every side that he seemed to have no choice but to capitulate. The scary thing to me is that I get it. I understand it. Is our society headed in such a direction? It is my opinion that we will never go that far, but it is perplexing to me how many people are willing to give up their free agency little by little, of their own free will and choice. I don't want anyone else making my decisions, thank you. Yes I will make mistakes, sometimes bad ones, but this is my life to live the way I see fit, not anyone else's, least of all some nameless guy known only as "Big Brother." There is so much in this book for all of us to learn. Right now the biggest thing I am taking away from this book is gratitude for the freedoms I have left in this country, and for my own free will. It is and should be my most highly prized possession. I'm thinking that preserving our free agency is an underlying reason why God sent his Son to die for us. It's that important.

    As always, Simon Prebble is an outstanding narrator. I love listening to him.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 01-22-16
    John 01-22-16 Member Since 2016

    St. Louis, Missouri

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    "I wanted to get that bloody book finished"

    That’s not me speaking; it’s George Orwell. Writing under something more than the usual pressure of a publisher’s deadline—he was also fighting a losing battle with tuberculosis—Orwell did get the book finished, and we are all better off for his tenacity. I can think of few better recommendations than the fact that among 1984’s first readers was Winston Churchill. And he read it twice. Fitting for the man who has been dubbed “The Last Lion”; Orwell’s working title for 1984 was “The Last Man in Europe”.

    It’s needless to go into the haunting parallels between the novel and our times. Campus speech codes, a sort of radical conformism that channels most public discussion, an inability on the part of many people to “connect the dots” on issues of the day, all find their counterpart in Big Brother, newspeak, thought crimes and doublethink. Other novels attain the status of “classic” by showing us as we are. 1984 earned it by showing us what we would become.

    But all that has been the stuff of comment and critique for decades, by brains far more acute than mine. No need here to argue you into listening to 1984; everyone should (and I should have years sooner). More to the point, since there is more than one audio version of this essential book out there, you need to know about the quality of the reading and the recording.

    It fully earns the title "New Classic Edition". Simon Prebble who, along with Simon Vance, is becoming one of my favorite readers, is simply magnificent here. There is a languid undercurrent to his voice that expresses the intolerable burdens endured in Winston Smith’s world. Yet just as easily, Prebble can bring his diction to a sharp point during moments of danger and crisis.

    Overall the recording quality is excellent, though unfortunately punctuated more than a few times by fluctuations in the room tone—as if some sentences or paragraphs had to be re-recorded in a different studio. That said it doesn’t really get in the way of Orwell’s writing or Prebble’s delivery. The story keeps you as engaged as any thriller. The setting is as familiar and strange as the landscape of your last bad dream. And the themes will hang with you long after the end credits.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-14-15
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 11-14-15 Member Since 2015

    I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ROOM 101"

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
    This amazing thought provoking, scary, unforgettable?, timeless classic is a must read. The book is divided into three parts. Let me start with part 3. Horror fans do not miss part 3. Part 3 is filled with suspense and torture. Horror is one of my specialties, but no fiction book written with the sole purpose of horror can match the suspense and reality of Part 3. Russia, North Korea and Nazi Germany can not compete with the torture practices of the party. The ability to alter the mind, to control your very thoughts, to make you love what you hated, to turn yourself against yourself. HOW MANY FINGERS DO YOU SEE?

    WAR IS PEACE
    Part one is the introduction and we learn what it is like to live in this society through the eyes of Winston. Winston is watched his whole life, he has no privacy. His apartment has a camera, his job, everywhere he goes. Everything he says is listened to, his facial expressions are examined and if he does not look and act the way the party expects, he could be vanished. In the morning he is awakened by the television, expected to get out of bed and follow the leader on the TV in morning exercises, if he does not bend over far enough, his name is announced over a speaker in his room and he better perform properly. The TV can not be turned off. Few people are married and sex is frowned upon. Those that are married rarely love each other, they only have sex to do their duty to the party. Their kids usually end up turning against them and reported them to the party. They are then vanished, see part 3. At work, Winston's job is to change history. If the party said something a year ago, which does not agree with what they said today, then all written material from the past must be changed to show that what they said today is what they have always said.

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    Winston is lonely and he hates the party. He must hide these facts from the ever watching eye of Big Brother. Somehow, he is able to find places of privacy and to have an affair. Life almost takes on a certain type of normalcy. Yet, he and she know that they will get caught and that they will be tortured. The reader feels for the couple, wishes them happiness, yet dreads the ultimate outcome of them being caught. Part two is bitter sweet.

    MINISTRY OF PLENTY
    Simon Prebble is excellent, absolutely excellent. I can't say enough about his performance for this novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. M. Santo APO, AE, United States 02-26-13
    J. M. Santo APO, AE, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2016

    Watergate Burglar

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    "A Classic"

    A great story and a must read (or listen). A true classic. Simon Prebble once again delivers a knockout performance!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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