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Orwell's Victory Paperback – 6 Jun 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Paperback, 6 Jun 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (6 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071399584X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713995848
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 1.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

There can be few literary reputations that have become quite so battered in recent years as that of George Orwell, the subject of Christopher Hitchens' short and spiky Orwell's Victory. Feminists, socialists, conservatives, post-modernists and critics of empire have all lined up to take pot-shots at Orwell's "common-sense" style, his sometimes maverick politics, and above all his patrician world-view. Hitchens, a prolific writer and provocative political journalist himself, best known for his downsizing of the reputation of Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton--successfully salvages Orwell from the backlash of posterity.

In a chatty and occasionally tangential account, he recreates the contexts and situations that influenced Orwell's most well-known work: privileged Eton, imperial Burma, the kitchens of Paris and the terraced streets of Lancashire, war-torn Spain, and London in the blitz. Throughout he judges Orwell in the light of the difficult contemporary questions he addressed--what Orwell called the "power of facing" unpleasant facts--rather than the ideological fashions of future generations. Some of Orwell's critics, notably Raymond Williams and Claude Simon, leave this book with the integrity of their own work in tatters. Hitchens is particularly good on Orwell's journalism, and deft at unpicking the deeper meanings of Animal Farm and 1984 . He doesn't really delve into Orwell's personal life, wherein lies the source of some of the posthumous contempt. But overall two reputations emerge intact from this little book: those of Orwell the voice of courageous sanity, and Hitchens, the arch-controversialist. --Miles Taylor


In the contemporary reapprasial of the 20th century's written legacy, which writers stagger on, which implode, which thrive? Christopher Hitchen's contention in this work is that above all it is Orwell among British writers who remains impressive, uncompromised and right. Whether thinking about empires or dictators, race or class, nationalism or popular culture, Orwell's moral outlook remains indispensable in a world which has undergone vast changes in the 50 years since his death. His ability to see through lies nad spin, and to say exactly what he thought (whoever it offended), make him matter now more than ever. This book presents an encounter between the greatest radical conscience of the 1940s and an incisive writer of our own age.

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