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A sound introduction to the thinking and times of Eric Blair
on 23 August 2013
My bias is that I have been a long time admirer of George Orwell both as a writer and a socialist/humanist. At school in the late sixties both Animal Farm and 1984 were required reading. Even at 14, we got the politics of Animal Farm. Later in my early teenage years, it was Homage to Catalonia and Road to Wigan Pier that resonated. Lately it has been re-reading articles, essays and reviews for the enjoyment of his writing clarity and analysis. So I was not expecting Mr Hitchens' book to increase my thinking about Orwell. But it did. Yes, there was an initial salvo of bombast but this is a well constructed appreciation and test of Orwell as a writer, political person and human being. It is informative, critical thought at its best! Through this emerges Eric Blair, with flaws but a mighty heart and appetite for thought and people. Although it would be expected that George Orwell might well be a historical anachronism by now, he still remains relevant, if only by demonstrating the value of having a mind that tests orthodoxy and calling the unacceptable-unacceptable and telling you why. After reading this I went back and read Animal Farm and will revisit George Orwell's novels.