Amazon reports spike in sales of George Orwell's '1984'

June 12, 2013 at 10:04 PM

SEATTLE, June 12 (UPI) -- George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984" is enjoying a spike in sales in the wake of revelations on surveillance in the United States.

Amazon.com says the book, published in 1945, has gone from No. 13,074 to No. 193 on its selling list, and it is moving higher, The Guardian reported. To put it another way, sales are up 7,000 percent.

In the novel, Orwell imagines a world divided into three large states, all of them exercising near-constant surveillance on their subjects. The government manipulates the news, history and the language.

The novel is set in London, the city where Orwell spent much of his adult life. But his primary target appears to be the Soviet Union, although he was also concerned about trends he saw in the United States and Britain.

It was "1984" that made "Orwellian" a common adjective in English. It is one that has been used a lot since news broke of National Security Agency monitoring of Internet and telephone traffic.

"What does our Constitution mean? What kind of country do we want to be? Kids will grow up knowing that every damn thing that they do is going to be recorded somewhere in a file, and I think that will have a very Orwellian and inhibiting impact on our lives," U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., said in a recent interview.

Orwell died in 1950 at the age of 46. But the book remains under copyright in Britain and the United States, so his estate benefits from its new popularity.

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