George Orwell’s 1984 contains excerpts from a fictional book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. Orwell provides a short passage from Chapter 1, entitled “Ignorance is Strength” and a much longer passage from Chapter 3, entitled “War Is Peace.” Although 1984 is a work of dystopian fiction, TPOC has long struck me as a profound work of social science. The book is a wonderful meditation on not only totalitarianism (especially Stalinism), but politics itself.
The upshot: I’ve decided to run a new book club – not on 1984 as a whole, but merely Orwell’s book-within-a-book.
You can read TPOC online here, or just take out your handy copy of 1984 and read the relevant parts of Part 2, Chapter 9. The whole read should take just 40 minutes or so.
The first installment will run on January 18. Who’s in?