A fitting best-seller for 2017 is a novel written in 1948 called "1984." "Post-truth," "fake news," "alternative facts" — Big Brother would feel right at home among us.

Everybody knows who Big Brother is. He is the ubiquitous face of "the Party," whose totalitarian rule over a North Korea-like country called Oceania operates through a Ministry of Truth that in effect is a Ministry of Post-Truth.

Dark days lay ahead when "1984" appeared in 1949. Was author George Orwell a prophet? Nuclear war threatened and totalitarianism ruled half the globe, its fall and democracy's survival by no means assured. Was Big Brother the face of the future?