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Not an 'alternative fact': George Orwell's '1984' tops Amazon's bestseller list

The regime in George Orwell’s “1984” declared “War is Peace — Freedom is Slavery — Ignorance is Strength.” The dystopian fiction drew flocks of book buyers after Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s comment about “alternative facts.”

The publisher of George Orwell's novel "1984" has ordered a 75,000 copy reprint of the book after sales spiked earlier this week, CNN reports.

“That is a substantial reprint,” a spokesman for Penguin told CNN, “and larger than our typical reprint for '1984.'”

The novel, which was the No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon as of Wednesday morning, was referenced by many in the press after comments made by Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.

Conway was discussing President Trump’s inauguration and a news conference held by Sean Spicer that attempted to convince members of the media that the swearing-in ceremony drew “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” 

Conway told “Meet the Press”’ moderator Chuck Todd, "You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that."

Commentators immediately seized on Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts," comparing it to "Newspeak," the euphemistic language that often inverted meaning in "1984"  that the tyrannical government used to deceive and control its residents.

"1984," first published in 1949, is Orwell's vision of a dystopian future in which the British government has been taken over by a totalitarian regime that employs propaganda and rewrites history at will.

In the Guardian, Orwell expert Tim Crook, a communications professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, wrote that Trump's first days in office have been "an explosion of propagandist grapeshot."

"But Trump takes doublethink to a new extreme, and if Orwell were alive today, I imagine Trump would amuse and horrify him at the same time," Crook wrote. "The key message in Nineteen Eighty-Four is that the purpose of propaganda is to narrow and limit human consciousness,confuse human conscience, and control and narrow the range of thinking."

 

CNN notes that this isn't the first time in recent years that "1984" has shot to the top of the bestseller lists. The novel also saw increased sales in 2013, after Edward Snowden leaked to the press information about the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance program.

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