George Orwell's Book '1984' Get New Life From NSA Spying Leak

4:43 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
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George Orwell's Book 1984 credit. Amazon.com

The revelations about government surveillance have introduced a new generation of readers to Nineteen Eighty-Four, as sales of George Orwell's dystopian classic soar.

Sales of the "centennial edition" on Amazon.com had skyrocketed more than 5,800% as of Tuesday night. The novel that introduced the world to the all-seeing, all-knowing "Big Brother" had climbed from No. 7,397 to No. 125 on Amazon's best-seller list, the fifth-best performance.

Grimsley High School English teacher Douglas Greene stopped by WFMY News 2 Wednesday to talk about why the recent news has people turning to a classic.  You can watch his interview here.

Barnes & Nobles has also seen a "significant spike in sales" of the book, which is a perennial top seller, a company executive told Bloomberg.

The book was published 64 years ago Saturday.

A book buyer for the Strand Book Store in New York reported a 50% increase in sales (from an average of about 12 copies a week). In addition to the reports of snooping by U.S. intelligence services, he said interest may also be driven by the novel's inclusion on schools' summer reading lists.

Several 1984 newbies on Amazon opined, "This should be required reading in high school." (News flash: "Back in the day" it was ...)

The New Yorker magazine asks the big question, "So Are We Living in 1984?"

[W]hat will all the new readers and rereaders of Orwell's classic find when their copy arrives? Is Obama Big Brother, at once omnipresent and opaque? And are we doomed to either submit to the safety of unthinking orthodoxy or endure re-education and face what horrors lie within the dreaded Room 101?

In an interview about his leaks to the Guardian newspaper, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden "could be channelling the novel's narrator" - Winston Smith, who works in the Ministry of Truth - "or at least delivering a spirited synopsis of the book," the New Yorker writer says.

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