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An interesting biography
on 15 December 2013
This is an interesting biography which tries to identify the trend of George Orwell's philosophy over his lifetime, and to project how he would have viewed events since his death over 60 years ago. An Old Etonion, who maintained close relationships with other Old Etonions throughout his life, Orwell liked to claim that he was a socialist, and in support of this view are his warm and sympathetic portrayals of working class and poverty afflicted life in two of his earliest books 'Down and Out in Paris and London' and 'The Road to Wigan Pier', and in his volunteering to fight in the Spanish Civil War against Franco's forces,where he was wounded.
He was certainly not of the hard left though, and his most famous books,'Animal Farm' and '1984' are of course strong polemics against communism and totalitarianism.
The author suggests that Orwell was almost a Tory in some respects of his thinking, but fails to produce much in the way of evidence to support that view despite the extensive research which underpins this book. He does however successfully show how Orwell was at heart very English, and how his Englishness shaped much of his thought, and his joy at returning to the country of his birth after his times overseas.
Although quite academic (the author is a university professor) this is also a very enjoyable book, which I read happily over just a few days.