Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell - A National Review Top Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Century One of Orwells very best books and perhaps the best book that exists on the Spanish Civil War.The New Yorker In 1936, originally intending merely to report on the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, George Orwell found himself embroiled as a participantas a member of the Workers Party of Marxist Unity. Fighting against the Fascists, he described in painfully vivid and occasionally comic detail life in the trencheswith a democratic army composed of men with no ranks, no titles, and often no weaponsand his near fatal wounding. As the politics became tangled, Orwell was pulled into a heartbreaking conflict between his own personal ideals and the complicated realities of political power struggles. Considered one of the finest works by a man V. S. Pritchett called the wintry conscience of a generation, Homage to Catalonia is both Orwells memoir of his experiences at the front and his tribute to those who died in what he called a fight for common decency. This edition features a new foreword by Adam Hochschild placing the war in greater context and discussing the evolution of Orwells views on the Spanish Civil War. No one except George Orwell . . . made the violence and self-dramatization of Spain so burning and terrible. Alfred Kazin, New York Times A wise book, one that once read will never be forgotten.Chicago Sunday Tribune
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a police officer with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927 and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1937. Orwell was severely wounded when he was shot through his throat. Later the organization that he had joined when he joined the Republican cause, The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), was painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organization (Trotsky was Joseph Stalin's enemy) and disbanded. Orwell and his wife were accused of "rabid Trotskyism" and tried in absentia in Barcelona, along with other leaders of the POUM, in 1938. However by then they had escaped from Spain and returned to England.Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. He was a prolific polemical journalist, article writer, literary critic, reviewer, poet, and writer of fiction, and, considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture.Orwell is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945) they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book Homage to Catalonia, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, have been widely acclaimed.Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term "Orwellian" now a byword for any oppressive or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society have entered the vernacular.
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