The Ministry of Truth: A biography of George Orwell’s 1984 (1984-Anniversary)
Dorian Lynskey has been writing about music, film, and politics for more than twenty years
for publications including The Guardian, The Observer, GQ, Q, Empire, Billboard, and The
New Statesman. His first book, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs
(Ecco), was published in 2011.
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 bestseller (‘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 by Dorian Lynskey is the first book that fully examines the epochal and
a 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 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
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