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1984 by George Orwell sales spike after NSA surveillance leaks

As of Tuesday afternoon, the book jumped an incredible 3,100 percent to number 6 on Amazon's "movers and shakers" list.
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Sales of George Orwell's novel '1984' have spiked since the recent NSA surveillance leaks, with many people comparing the government's actions to those of 'Big Brother' in the novel. (Wikipedia/Wikimedia commons)

Big Brother is back.

George Orwell's dystopian 1949 novel "1984" is currently experiencing a renaissance in light of the recent National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance leaks.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the book jumped an incredible 3,100 percent to number 6 on Amazon's "movers and shakers" list.

The book jumped 7,000 percent earlier in the day.

Its current sales rank is now 194 from 6,208, a spectacular leap for a book written more than a half-century ago.

The recent leaks that exposed a massive surveillance program conducted by the NSA have some claiming that Orwell was prophetic in his description of a state that tracked not only the movements, but also the thoughts, of its citizens.

"Throwing out such a broad net of surveillance is exactly the kind of threat Orwell feared," Michael Shelden, author of Orwell: The Authorized Biography told NPR.

More from GlobalPost: EU challenges Obama administration over surveillance program

"What he saw was that over time, surveillance would become pervasive," Shelden said. "He just took that idea and expanded it in Nineteen Eighty-Four to basically a police state."

Oddly, Obama defended the surveillance program last Friday while referencing the novel: "In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance."

Others believe that Franz Kafka's novels like "The Castle" and "The Trial," about the banal evil in out-of-control bureaucracies, are more apt to the NSA scandal.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the sales jump for 1984 was a nice birthday present for the book, which celebrated its 64th anniversary on June 8.

It is not the first time that US government policies have sparked a book-buying spree.

The 2008 bank bailout saw sales of Ayn Rand's ode to capitalism "Atlas Shrugged" soar.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/1984-george-orwell-sales-spike-after-nsa-surveillance-lea