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All Propaganda Is Lies: 1941 - 1942 (Complete Works George Orwell) Paperback – 1 Mar 2001

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More About the Author

George Orwell is one of England's most famous writers and social commentators. Among his works are the classic political satire Animal Farm and the dystopian nightmare vision Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell was also a prolific essayist, and it is for these works that he was perhaps best known during his lifetime. They include Why I Write and Politics and the English Language. His writing is at once insightful, poignant and entertaining, and continues to be read widely all over the world.

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there.

At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.

It was around this time that Orwell's unique political allegory Animal Farm (1945) was published. The novel is recognised as a classic of modern political satire and is simultaneously an engaging story and convincing allegory. It was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which finally brought him world-wide fame. Nineteen Eighty-Four's ominous depiction of a repressive, totalitarian regime shocked contemporary readers, but ensures that the book remains perhaps the preeminent dystopian novel of modern literature.

Orwell's fiercely moral writing has consistently struck a chord with each passing generation. The intense honesty and insight of his essays and non-fiction made Orwell one of the foremost social commentators of his age. Added to this, his ability to construct elaborately imaginative fictional worlds, which he imbued with this acute sense of morality, has undoubtedly assured his contemporary and future relevance.

George Orwell died in London in January 1950.

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Book Description

Volume XIII from the The Complete Works of George Orwell availiable in paperback for the first time

About the Author

George Orwell (1903-1950) served with the Imperial Police in Burma, fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, and was a member of the Home Guard and a writer for the BBC during World War II. He is the author of some of the most celebrated works of non-fiction and fiction in the English language.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The rest includes things like plenty of place markers indicating the chronologically correct spot ... 7 Feb. 2015
By P. Troutman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book represents the fourth of eleven volumes of the complete essays, journalism, letters, diaries, grocery lists, etc. of George Orwell. I partially jest about the grocery lists, as the series does attempt to reproduce literally everything Orwell ever put to paper that survives and this volume does at one point include a day-by-day list of fish caught on a two-week vacation from the BBC.

From the point of view of someone who would read the complete everything of George Orwell, this volume contains almost nothing new of literally merit. Unlike the preceding three volumes, the new gems are few, and you’ve likely already read them a few times each before considering embarking a quest to read this series: ‘The Art of Donald McGill’, ‘Rudyard Kipling’, some famous diary entries, ‘The Re-Discovery of Europe’, a few pieces for the Partisan Review and ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’ and maybe one or two others that are slipping my mind at the moment.

The rest quite frankly has virtually no literary value. Indeed, I’d guess perhaps only half the ink in this volume represents Orwell’s own hand with any certainty. The rest includes things like plenty of place markers indicating the chronologically correct spot for BBC broadcasts that Orwell wrote but which do not survive, broadcasts that he may (or may not) have written and the detailed notes at the end of each entry — mainly giving extensive biographical information about anyone mentioned even once, sometimes tedious descriptions of the original text (‘the word “the” was inserted above the line in what appears to be Orwell’s handwriting’, etc.). Much of what Orwell wrote was either brief news reports on the war (more interesting than they should be) and brief letters arranging details of getting people (famous still today and otherwise) into the studio to record their efforts.

That said, several audiences will appreciate this book. First, for fans of Orwell, this series is a de facto ultimate biography of the man, and this volume gives a very vivid sense of Orwell’s BBC time (despite an almost complete lack of personal letters). Biographies always assure readers of Orwell’s frustrations with these years. After reading this volume, you’ll believe them. You’ll get a sense of how stupidly pointless it all was, which is not as bad of a writing experience as it might sound, as Orwell could infuse life into all but the most tedious piece of writing.

Likewise, you’ll get an appreciation for, say, how little he actually wrote in his diary (once you see the entries interspersed amongst his other writings). You’ll also get a difference sense of who was important in his life. I’m sure I’ve seen, for example, Bokhari’s name mentioned in a biography or two but I don’t remember it. He’s a major figure at the BBC (but Eileen receives literally two or three mentions).
Further, something that slowly becomes apparent is that there’s a kind of heroism in the stance Orwell is striking, with his commitment to inconvenient truths and desire to give even propaganda a sense of decency and respect for its audience. So this volume won’t dazzle like the last three but it’s still enormously enjoyable to read.

A second audience that might appreciate this book is anyone interested in the English home front during World War Two. Its combination of news reports, diary entries and just random bits gives a sense of the drift of days, the random rumors, the things that seemed so important at the time but later all but forgotten (like the Cripps mission to India or the belief amongst some intellectuals that revolution was necessary to win the war). Likewise, the news reports restore the urgency that we’ve lost because we know how it all ends (e.g., the inability to hide a sense of nervousness about how the Germans seem poised to capture Stalingrad).

I will again end by lamenting the low quality of the cover of the paperback. I’m a very gentle reader and reading once reduced all four corners of the gunmetal blue ink on the spine to the underlying white of the paper. Consider the hardcover if you can afford their ridiculous prices.
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