- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown (1 May 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316861154
- ISBN-13: 978-0316861151
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.5 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,026,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
George Orwell Hardcover – 1 May 2003
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An exhilaratingly crowded book (INDEPENDENT)
Invaluable... superb and fascinating biography adds enormously to our understanding of the man (EVENING STANDARD)
Bowker's biography is that of a scholar... he has the ability to select the right detail and let it speak for itself (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
Magisterial (DAILY MAIL)
An intelligent and subtle biography of George Orwell (1903-1950), the author of 1984 and ANIMAL FARM.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The book demonstrates that Orwell was a man of contrasts and perhaps had difficulty in understanding himself and lasting happiness always seemed to elude him. This has been handled sensitively by Gordon Bowker.
For example, it is mentioned that when Orwell was "down and out", he would tell people that drink had got him. This is used as evidence of his secretiveness, and his liking of playing roles. Yet, Bowker also repeatedly acknowledges the sociological Orwell; the man who was able to quickly recognise people's positions in social groups. I would argue that it is this latter point that is more like to explain the drinking comment, in that it would have been a pragmatic explanation for the Etonian to offer for his apparent downfall. This would be a familiar story to his fellow downtrodden companions, which would not require further prying (think of the drunk in "To Kill a Mockingbird"), and may have the potential to lead to acceptance and sympathy. If on the other hand he had been "honest" and said:
"Well, old chap, it's like this: All my Eton chums have gone off to Oxbridge and are busy writing from comfortable positions. However, I've decided to reject such a bourgeois life, and thought I'd join you, the poor, lower classes, in your predicament, before writing about you and becoming a famous author",
he would have alienated his company, and perhaps attracted a good kicking.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having recently attended a lovely weeding service and reception for my nephew in Southwold, I became aware that George Orwell had family connections to the town and decided to read... Read morePublished 5 months ago by K M LAUDER
One of the better biographies I've read on G.O. but there are some revealing remarks about the start of the Spanish Civil War for instance which show where the author is coming... Read morePublished 12 months ago by A. Wells
If you want to quickly get a taste of who the man was, then in my view, this is not for you.Published on 3 Oct. 2013 by Ian Taylor
Very good product and service. Good timing just what I wanted. Timely. Good packaging. Very good product and service. GreatPublished on 7 Dec. 2012 by Mr JD Meagan
I am surprised that other reviewers have described this biography as well-written. Bowker's prose, although lively, cries out for an editor. Read morePublished on 2 Nov. 2011 by wpm