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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.

Critic Reviews

  • 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)

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  • T Cyr
  • Missoula, MT United States
  • 02-13-17

Excellent Reader of a Visionary Classic

For first being published in 1949, Orwell had a dire vision into a possible future of our humanity and life on this planet. What's more frightening is that some of his vision has come true. Television has become a big part of what manipulates and controls much of our culture and society. Social media seems to spew hate. This has been one of those classics that has always been on my to read list but I never quite got around to reading. Simon Prebble is an excellent reader and takes us directly into Orwell allowing us direct access to the thoughts of Winston. Was not at all what i was expecting and found parts so anguishing to listen to I had to turn it off and take a break from the intensity of his reading. Well worth a listen.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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ROOM 101

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?

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.

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.

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

120 of 126 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Better than the real thing

If you were to read this as an actual book, you would miss out, this audiobook is that good. The narration is perfect; it's bone-chilling. This book is frightening, profound and incredibly relevant.

101 of 110 people found this review helpful

Come one, Come all into 1984!

I previously downloaded a version of 1984 that sounded as if the thought police had shoved the novel where no darkness shines. However, This five star version of Orwell's masterpiece is so well voiced, so expressive that I find it hard to put down. In this novel, we are transported to an alternate reality where history is overwritten and free thought is a crime. Depite the constant threat of the telescreens, spies and thought police, Winston and his love interest, Julia, endeavor to rebel against Big Brother in their own ways. Orwell's insight into history, warfare and mass hysteria reflect the era in which he was writing, and still endure in this classic of science fiction- a piece that anticipates not only future works in the genre, but twentieth and twenty first century issues of foreign policy and state welfare. If you haven't read this book, you owe it to yourself to give this version a listen- it will challenge you and touch you, and I know that I, for one, will never be the same.

99 of 108 people found this review helpful

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Great Book, With an Amazing Narrator

I'm a regular consumer of audio books, and Simon Prebble's narration brings this book to life with such pitch-perfect, jaw-dropping excellence that I'm at a bit of a loss how to praise him highly enough. Suffice it to say that I got so lost in the story that at times I forgot altogether that this was a book. Do yourself a favor and give this one a listen.

65 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Garret
  • ROSEVILLE, CA, United States
  • 04-06-17

Incredibly depressing.

Are the concepts in this book left or right leaning? To fully appreciate it, you need to let go of your political views and witness this story of unrelenting oppression. Fear that anyone should experience such a hell and think about what aspects of your own political ideals might lead us there. It's not the left or the right that will lead us to such a hell; it's the blind and credulous hatred of the other. Are you for the library of your fellow man or are you only for the party?

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Narration in this book is awesome!

The narrator in this book is great! The drama and expression in his voice are fantastic. I have an hour drive one way to work and one day I was so engulfed in the book that I did not realize I had driven all the way home!
This book is very well done and well worth the time. I highly recommend this to all listeners of audio books

56 of 63 people found this review helpful

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  • Stacey
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 03-04-08


The reading is perfect. I'm talking not only about pronunciation, which is perfect as well, but rather about the expressiveness that makes you shiver at times during the listening to this audiobook.

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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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.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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The an eerily predicted future from the past.

Would you listen to 1984 again? Why?

I don't think my mind could handle it! I spent most of my time listening to this book with my mouth agape. I literally ended each listening session shaking my head wondering how something written so long ago could be so powerful today. While I really did enjoy the book and the performance, I don't think I could handle another go though anytime in the near future.

Who was your favorite character and why?

*SPOILER* I suppose O'Brian, something seems a little more tragic about that character for me. Maybe because despite his position, I get the feeling his fate will be just as dark if not worse than Winston's because of the way the party is built, people like him only reach a point of usefulness then fall, but their fall is much more dramatic and painful.

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

I can't say... He did a fantastic job.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Once I started to see the world that was created I became horrified...By the end, yes, I even cried. My Roommate's reaction was even more severe. He started reading the book but stopped a quarter of the way in. He flat out told me it terrified him too much to finish, and he never stops a book till it's done! This guy thrives on Horror and surrounds himself with anything horror or terror related, and yet the real life parallels of the book terrified him.

Any additional comments?

Despite the fact that some recent reviews have been backhanded attacks about the current US administration, I think those reviews diminish the power of this book and fail to grasp what the message of this book (especially since it is an anti-Communist novella... Seriously). The book is not entirely about the politics of that world, the book is ultimately about the individual. An individual who finds himself (or herself) in a machine and realizes they allowed themselves to be in that machine. But what do you do when you realize you no longer want to be a cog in the machine? What do you do when you have surrendered everything about yourself, your life, your language, your freedoms and your society to "fit in"?

Do you continue on the path your stuck on? Or do you risk it all and say "Down with Big Brother"?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful