• The Ministry of Truth

  • The Biography of George Orwell's 1984
  • By: Dorian Lynskey
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 13 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)

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The Ministry of Truth  By  cover art

The Ministry of Truth

By: Dorian Lynskey
Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
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Publisher's summary

"Rich and compelling. . .Lynskey’s account of the reach of 1984 is revelatory.” --George Packer, The Atlantic

An authoritative, wide-ranging, and incredibly timely history of 1984 - its literary sources, its composition by Orwell, its deep and lasting effect on the Cold War, and its vast influence throughout world culture at every level, from high to pop.

1984 isn't just a novel; it's a key to understanding the modern world. George Orwell's final work is a treasure chest of ideas and memes - Big Brother, the Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak, 2+2=5 - that gain potency with every year. Particularly in 2016, when the election of Donald Trump made it a best seller ("Ministry of Alternative Facts", anyone?). Its influence has morphed endlessly into novels (The Handmaid's Tale), films (Brazil), television shows (V for Vendetta), rock albums (Diamond Dogs), commercials (Apple), even reality TV (Big Brother).

The Ministry of Truth is the first book that fully examines the epochal and cultural event that is 1984 in all its aspects: its roots in the utopian and dystopian literature that preceded it; the personal experiences in wartime Great Britain that Orwell drew on as he struggled to finish his masterpiece in his dying days; and the political and cultural phenomena that the novel ignited at once upon publication and that far from subsiding, have only grown over the decades. It explains how fiction history informs fiction and how fiction explains history.

©2019 Dorian Lynskey (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Perhaps the best book of its kind that I've ever read. The portrait it provides of Orwell is sharp, nuanced, and moving, and its capsule histories of the major and minor planets in orbit around 1984 are surprising and deeply informative. Above all, it's just flat out fun to read. With The Ministry of Truth, Dorian Lynskey has done anyone who loves literature a great service." (Tom Bissell, author of Apostle and co-author of The Disaster Artist)

“Gaslighting, doublespeak, the horror of a crowd of human ‘gramophones...playing the same tune’ at frenzied rallies where mob and demagogue crescendo together in an orgasm of hate: Orwell saw our future and sent us a time capsule to be opened in case of emergency. That moment is now. Briskly written and brilliantly argued, The Ministry of Truth delves deep into the cultural impact - and terrifying relevance - of a book that, 70 years on, still delivers the jolt of a torturer’s electrodes.” (Mark Dery, author of Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey)

"A deeply researched and highly readable intellectual history, providing a wealth of information and anecdotes about Orwell's life and work. Lynskey skillfully weaves together literary and political histories to create a rich tapestry, full of context, color and insight into one of the most important books of the last century - and thus far, this century as well. The Ministry of Truth is an illuminating and entertaining companion to 1984, a novel whose relevance and necessity are more evident than ever, at a time when the very concept of objective reality is under attack.” (Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)