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The Road to Wigan Pier (Penguin audiobooks) [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

George Orwell , Neville Teller , Alex Jennings
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Nov 1996 0140862587 978-0140862584 abridged edition
As a result of his experiences living with industrial workers in the North of England in the 1930s, Orwell created this searing study both for and against Socialism.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; abridged edition edition (25 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140862587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140862584
  • Product Dimensions: 50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,803,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

* If 'peerless prose' could apply to one writer alone, I'd accord it to Orwell The Guardian * Jeremy Northam is superb. The manner is wholly entertaining yet maintaining an air of informative anecdote making the book so real and alive. The School Librarian on Down and Out in Paris and London * Simon Callow's remarkable narration brings out the many layers of Orwell's fable... Brilliant' The Observer on Animal Farm * Nineteen Eighty-Four is given fresh life through this vigorous narration The Observer on Ninteen Eighty-Four --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

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. George Orwell died in London in January 1950. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Notes on 'The Road to Wigan Pier'. 1 April 2006
Format:Paperback
'The Road to Wigan Pier' is split into two parts. Part one is George Orwell's recording of his experiences in the North of England, meeting miner's families and reporting at first hand what he saw and heard. Orwell records with sincerity the working class condition. There is no blame or embellishment of what Orwell saw. Orwell's descriptions of the people in the boarding houses he was staying in, are wonderful. You really get a sense of the filth and depravation, and yet the people make you feel at home, to the point of marking your bread and butter with "a black thumb-print on it". I appreciate Orwell's candid writing. The stark reality of poverty is brought to life by Orwell, from his description of the conditions of working in the mines, to the weekly shopping bill and food consumption.
Part two is Orwell's polemic on what he saw and experienced. I found this part of the book filled with passion, anger and justifications. Orwell always makes sure to explain the reasoning behind his arguements and even apologises for his background. Part two consists of political theories, language, class distinction and the personal journey Orwell experienced whilst researching part one.
In my opinion, 'The Road to Wigan Pier' is a wonderful snapshot of a time and a place. It still has a place in literature today as a reminder to us all that there are still destitute people in the world and that things haven't changed as much as we hoped.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Picture Speaks for Itself 14 Nov 2002
Format:Paperback
This book is divided into two sections. The first is a devastating account of the lives of coal miners in the north of England. While this account may be exaggerated it is completely conceivable that life in this time under such social and political conditions might have been like this. He goes to considerable length to explore the personal reactions and methods of endurance of the people he met. Orwell's dedication to exploring what life was really like for the coal miners was made at considerable personal discomfort and were as heroic as Jonathan Kozol's efforts in our present time.
The second half of the book is a long argument by Orwell of the negative aspects of socialism. He does this in order to provoke a serious discussion over how socialism can be implemented in our society. He understood well, as demonstrated in 1984, that many political parties use propaganda as a means of convincing the public that theirs is the right way. But, by taking the opposing view and criticising his own beliefs, he is able to bring the issues of the party into an open forum to consider implementations of change rather than party rhetoric. He does this most sincerely and in no way tries to hide the faults of the socialist political system of thought. In doing so he proves himself to be quite dignified in his system of beliefs. The juxtaposition of these two sections provides a striking idea of the immediate need for political reformation. He did not need to defend socialism because the need for a political change that could effect the lives of the lower class he investigated was obvious. This showed that Orwell's political ideas didn't exist on some ideological utopian plain, but were firmly rooted in the immense danger a political system could inflict upon a large population.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This novel is split into two parts. The first being an interesting description of working class Northern Britain in the 1930s. Orwell visited, amongst other places, Wigan in Lancashire where he stayed with 'working class' people. This really opened my eyes to the hardship and sense of family and community which, to a certain extent, still exist in Working class areas of The North. The second section is Orwell's analysis of his experiences. He concentrates on the legendary British sense of class and displays his Socialist tendancies, from the point of view as a member of (in Orwell's words) "the upper lower middle class". I found the first part of this novel very interesting - I didn't want to put it down. However, the second part is a more difficult read, although still quite interesting - displaying Orwell's views on the classes.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
George Orwell, commissioned by the Left Book Club, tours the recession hit mining areas of Lancashire and Yorkshire in 1936 and his report on the harsh social conditions he found there (the first part of this book) pulls no punches. No-one before or since has done reporterage like George Orwell and the vividness and directness of his prose with its underlying blazing committment to social justice strikes the reader, even at this remove of time. Orwell's descriptions, couched in his superb prose, will remain in your mind for ever and should be re-read by everyone as a reminder of just how harsh life was for many people, within living memory. Orwell is particularly good about the desperation, the struggle with respectability and the terrible psychological and social toll of unemployment and poverty.
The second part of the book charts Orwell's personal odyssey from public schoolboy and officer of the Indian Imperial Police in Burma to crusading Left-wing author and journalist. Along the way Orwell expounds his personal strategy for Socialism. Although dated, his insights are fascinating, describing as they do the origins of the class struggle ideas that infested and inflamed British politics right up to the 1990s. Orwell is bitingly caustic about many of his fellow Socialists, castigating the obsession with mechanical progress, the worship of Russia and the crank tendencies (still evident in the British Labour Party) - "...the dreary tribe of high-minded women...and the bearded fruit-juice drinkers that flock to the idea of 'progress' like bluebottles do to a dead cat".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 2 days ago by Karen Daniels
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Poor copy, damage to spine & cover. Dissapointed
Published 18 days ago by Su Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars when life was hard
good read these kids today dont know they're born
Published 19 days ago by paul scott
3.0 out of 5 stars hard work
this is a great book but after a while you feel you are being preached to I will stick to his novels
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read for social historians
This is an interesting book if you are studying social history at the beginning of the 20th Century. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jayne23
5.0 out of 5 stars GEORGE ORWELL
This is an insight to how things were in 'the good old days'!! The working classes WERE the workers.Very very interesting book.
Published 1 month ago by Imogen
5.0 out of 5 stars First class
This book should be required reading. Orwell's writing from 80 years ago is as relevant now as it was then.
He had the ability to consider now and explain the future.
Published 2 months ago by ACD
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!
The Road to Wigan Pier is one of the most interesting books about England I have read. Now I want to go back and read everything by George Orwell.
Published 2 months ago by Ebele
5.0 out of 5 stars A rather sobering read
A rather sobering read considering it was written in 1937 and yet it resonates with modern themes such as the living wage, housing shortages and malnutrition.
Published 4 months ago by Lucy Johns
5.0 out of 5 stars Orwell as great as ever.
Just realised the review I just posted for "Down and Out in Paris..." would have been more appropriate to TRTWP. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. Frost
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