According to TIME, in Amazon's Classic Literature & Fiction category, 12 out of the top-selling 20 titles have been used recently as either examples of how to explain the rise of Donald Trump and his administration, or are dark, dystopian novels that represent what society will be like when the world as we once knew it is suddenly a distant memory thanks to sweeping policy reforms that put constraints on things we view as basic human rights.
Some have referred to this literature trend as the "Trump Bump" and illustrates people's desires to understand what is currently happening, and what has the possibility of happening if Trump's executive actions go unchecked.
George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984, became the #1 best-selling book on Amazon this week, nearly 70 years after it was first published. Publishers saw an immediate spike after White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, made a false claim Trump had attracted the “largest audience ever to witness an inauguration,” and Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway described his remarks as "alternative facts' which struck some as similar to the dystopian world of 1984.
Similarly, Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, which was published in 1935, was flying off shelves and ranked #5 in Amazon's Classic Literature category after being unranked in 2015.
Knowledge is indeed power. While some authors of yesteryear thought they were merely spinning a yarn about the possibility of a dystopian future, the frightening reality is they could actually be right.
If you want to know just how bad it could get under Donald Trump, look no further than these five novels.
It Can't Happen Here
Author: Sinclair Lewis
Written in a pre-World War II context when Adolph Hitler was coming to power in Germany, Sinclair Lewis decided to take an absurdist tone as it related to American politics.
Focusing on Democratic U.S. Senator Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip's attempt to beat out Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the party nomination, he gains public support by rallying against immigrants, disenfranchised and liberal media.
"My one ambition is to get all Americans to realize that they are, and must continue to be, the greatest Race on the face of this old Earth, and second, to realize that whatever apparent differences there may be among us, in wealth, knowledge, skill, ancestry or strength–though, of course, all this does not apply to people who are racially different from us–we are all brothers, bound together in the great and wonderful bond of National Unity, for which we should all be very glad," Windrip said.
TIME's 1935 review of the book declared, "Readers of It Can't Happen Here who feel that almost anything can happen in the U.S. are likely to be convinced that it cannot happen in quite the way Author Lewis describes."
Author: George Orwell
George Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" which was first published in 1946 in Cyril Connolly's literary review, Horizon, noted, "Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
Three years later, he would release his dystopian classic, 1984, which seemed to be an extension of his belief system that he presented in the aforementioned essay where "newspeak" creates an environment where politicians can play the populace like pawns.
Orwell's predictions of the future outlined the basis of what could be conceived as the endless "War on Terror," the fight for privacy, and the aforementioned "newspeak" whose aim was to disarm the public.
"Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought," Orwell wrote. "In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten."
One can't help but draw a comparison between Orwell's "Newspeak" and Donald Trump's advisors using words like "alternative facts" to quell claims that his inauguration wasn't well attended.
In a pre 1984 context, those would just be called "lies."
Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
During his meteoric rise as a legitimate Presidential candidate, many news outlets amended his statements by stating it could be a "brave new world' with Donald Trump at the helm. Although the phrase is relatively commonplace, one can't overlook the connections to Aldous Huxley's 1931 novel of the same name.
Brave New World exists in stark contrast to George Orwell's 1984. Rather than presenting a dystopia where fear reigned supreme, Huxley imagines a state of "forced happiness" that is achieved by eliminating war and poverty and results in something that is more akin to an antiseptic existence.
"All that is needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look sincere; political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance," Huxley wrote. "The personality of the candidate, the way he is projected by the advertising experts, are the things that really matter."
Author: Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451, draws its name from the temperature in which book pages will succumbed to the flames of ritual burning to rid the world of information and principles we've held as fact for centuries.
One of the most important text documents relating to American democracy is of course, the Constitution, which Trump swore an oath to “preserve, protect and defend," just two weeks ago, and is already defying.
“I wouldn’t say he’s bumping into the Constitution, he’s crashing through it,” said Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime.”
Specifically, Trump's so-called "Muslim Ban" which limits travel for people coming from countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan is in direct violation of the First Amendment which bars the government from making laws that single out a specific religion.
Additionally, the Fifth and 14th amendments say “no person” can be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law" - while it has been documented that refugees and visa holders seeking entrance to the United States have been detained without access to attorneys.
The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
As the various Women's Marches across the United States illustrate, Donald Trump's stance on abortion and overall rights for females is as archaic as any politician who has come into office since Ronald Reagan implemented his "global gag rule."
Under Trump's directive, Senate Republicans have already initiated steps to defund Planned Parenthood and the reimplemention of the global gag rule which will lead to more women seeking out dangerous methods of terminating unwanted pregnancies.
Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, imagines a world where a fundamentalist regime made women property of the state and "Handmaids" are placed into sexual servitude as part of a campaign to repopulate a republic plagued by environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate.