Interest in revisiting George Orwell’s classic portrayal of a totalitarian surveillance state has almost doubled at Amazon.com.
As of 4 p.m. CST Monday, the mammoth online bookseller listed Orwell’s 1984 at No. 17 among the day’s “Movers & Shakers” page, which tracks publications whose popularity is on the rise. Sales of 1984 had increased by 91 percent over the same period a day earlier. The book also jumped from 205th in the retailer’s book sales ranking to 107th — in a single day.
Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949, but the dystopian concepts he introduced have been prophetic — never more so than now in the U.S., where concern over authoritarian government masquerading as benevolent protector has compounded in only a few short days.
Friday’s revelation of the National Security Administration’s secret PRISM program, coupled with a Thursday scandal uncovering the agency’s phone metadata-mining scandal, has galvanized citizens already weary of President Barack Obama’s scandal-rocked second term against the intrusiveness of a government that, as Obama said Friday, has “struck the right balance” in trading privacy for safety.
“You can’t have 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. “We are going to have make some choices as a society, and what I can say is that [PRISM] makes a difference in … anticipating and preventing attacks.”