On Nineteen Eighty-Fourby Peter Stansky
Not to know the past is to move blindly into the future. Since history repeats itself, or at least
George Orwell's famous novel "1984" is not a prophecy, but a warning. That is almost the only point on which a score of noted scholars at Stanford agree, in writing about the novel which has sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone and has gone beyond 65 editions.
Not to know the past is to move blindly into the future. Since history repeats itself, or at least people do, we ignore the lessons of the past at our peril.
The new world realities do not make Orwell's speculations on the future any less valuable. Indeed, they underline Einstein's comment, shortly after the first atomic explosion: "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking; we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe". It was the aftermath of this catastrophe which Orwell imagined in "1984."
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