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The NSA Scandal Causes an Upswing in Sales for George Orwell’s ‘1984’

The recent scandal involving the National Security Agency (NSA) and the organization’s’ unsavory surveillance tactics has spread like wildfire throughout the United States. The severity of the issue is one that conjures up thoughts of Big Brother, and has some people thinking twice about the kinds of activities they conduct across the telephone lines, cell phone towers, and Internet. Interestingly, the scandal has the public scrambling to gain information regarding the recent events in any way possible. This includes purchasing the classic novel written by George Orwell titled ‘1984’.

Although the novel was written in 1949, the subject matter still applies to the recent events surrounding the NSA, and sales for the book have reportedly jumped a great deal since news broke about the Agency and its monitoring activities.

Orwell’s tale about just how oppressive the long arm of the government can become, and how life would be if there was no escaping the watchful eye of Big Brother is attracting a lot of attention lately.

Sales for the novel have risen more than 3,000 percent on Amazon since headlines about the U.S. government surveillance programs (including the latest on PRISM and other previously unknown methods of spying on Americans and foreigners). The novel recently reached the number five position on the ‘movers and shakers list,’ which tracks the largest leaps in sales over a 24-hour time period. Last Monday, the book was ranked 6,750, but quickly slipped into the #194 rank in a short period of time.

In case you’re interested in checking out the book, the novel describes a dystopian society (centered on a fictional dictatorship called Oceania), where the focus is on main character Winston Smith, who is a member of the government in Oceania. He is not satisfied with the work he does, and has dreams of rebelling against the totalitarianism of the society in which he lives in.

The objective of the book was to serve as a cautionary tale of what can take place when the government gains too much power and uses it beyond the normal limitations. The term ‘Orwellian’ was born from this novel’s subject matter, and is often linked to the notion of a totalitarian society. If you caught Sen. Bernie Sanders’ appearance on MSNBC not too long ago, you would have heard him use the term when describing the NSA surveillance program. He stated that having every move you make or think you do recorded and stored in a file can have a detrimental effect on the way people live their lives.

While sales for 1984 often spike during this time of the year because of teachers and students embracing the novel for summer reading, the increase in purchases has never been so large, says the director of publicity for Plume publishing, which produces Orwell’s book.

As of recent, the concept of Big Brother doesn’t seem like the fictionalized possibility it once was, and if it weren’t for leaked documents and people who rebel against the ‘system’ and speak out, the greater public would still be in the dark about the government’s activities that take place behind closed doors and secret meetings.