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Top 10 Classic Political Novels


Here are 10 classic political novels, from 1984 to To Kill a Mockingbird. What would you add? E-mail me to add to the list.

1984 (1949)

George Orwell's reverse utopia, written in 1949, introduces Big Brother and other concepts like newspeak and thoughtcrime. In this imagined future, the world is dominated by three totalitarian superpowers. The novel served as the basis for Apple Computer's TV ad that introduced the Macintosh in 1984; that ad became an issue in the 2007 Democratic primary battle. About.com's Classic Literature has a review.
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Advise and Consent (1959)

A bitter battle ensues in the Senate during confirmation hearings for the Secretary of State nominee in this Pulitzer prize-winning classic by Allen Drury. The former AP reporter wrote this novel in 1959; it quickly became a bestseller and has withstood the test of time. First book in a series; also made into a 1962 movie starring Henry Fonda; movie review.
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All the King's Men (1946)

As relevant today as when it was written 50 years ago, Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about American politics traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character who resembles the real-life Huey Long of Louisiana. More from classic literature at About.com
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Atlas Shrugged (1946)

Ayn Rand's magnum opus is "a premier moral apologia for capitalism" -- tremendous in scope, it is the story of the man who said he would stop the world's engine: "Who is John Galt?" A Library of Congress survey found it to be the "second most influential book for Americans." If you want to understand libertarian philosophy, US-style, consider starting here. For context, you also need to understand the author.
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Brave New World (1932)

Aldous Huxley explores a Utopian World State where children are born in laboratories and adults are encouraged to eat, drink and be merry as they take their daily dose of "soma" to keep them smiling. Contemporary parallels. More from Classic Literature at About.com.
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Catch-22 (1961)

Joseph Heller mocks war, the military and politics in this classic satire -- his first novel -- which also introduced a new phrase to our lexicon. Read a review.
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Fahreneheit 451 (1953)

In Ray Bradbury's classic dystopia, firemen don't put out fires : they burn books, which are illegal. And citizens are encouraged not to think or reflect, but instead "be happy." Buy the 50th anniversary edition for an interview with Bradbury on the book's classic status and contemporary relevance. See the review from classic literature at About.com.
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Lord of the Flies (1954)

William Golding's classic tale shows how thin the veneer of civilization might be as it explores what happens in the absence of rules and order. Is man essentially good or not? Check out these quotations from About.com's guide to contemorary literature.
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Manchurian Candidate (1959)

Richard Condon's controversial 1959 Cold War thriller tells the story of Sgt. Raymond Shaw, an ex-prisoner of war (and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor). Shaw was brainwashed by a Chinese psychological expert during his captivity in North Korea and has come home programmed to kill a U.S. presidential nominee. The 1962 movie was taken out of circulation for 25 years following the 1963 assassination of JFK. Read a review from About.com.
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To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Harper Lee explores attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 30s through the eyes of eight-year-old Scout Finch, "one of the most endearing and enduring characters of Southern literature," and her brother and father. Focuses on the tension and conflict between prejudice and hypocrisy on one hand and justice and perseverance on the other. Learn more about the book from About.com.
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