24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: George Orwell (Hardcover)
For anyone wanting to read a straightforward biography of Orwell, well-written and searching, with a strong narrative drive, this is an excellent book for you. Not only is it extremely well-researched, but it explores Orwell's mind from his childhood through to his death. It explains a lot of things that were mysterious about him and includes a lot of new facts and observations relating to the shadowy side of his life and to his writing.
I like especially the way Bowker writes about the novels and the poetry, but he gives equal weight to the essays, and situates them well in their political perspective. He is very good on his superstitious streak, his sadistic tendencies and the paranoia which resulted from his being hunted and spied on during the Spanish Civil War. His explanation of why Orwell made up his list of suspected Communists and his wish to have no biography written I found very persuasive.
This is the book to read if you've heard of Orwell and would like to know more. It's also a first rate introduction to his work. And for those familiar with Orwell and his work there is a lot here that is new revealing.