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1. Nineteen Eighty-Four
2. Finding George Orwell in Burma
3. Animal Farm: Centennial Edition
4. A Collection of Essays
5. Animal Farm and 1984
6. All Art Is Propaganda
7. Nineteen Eighty-Four
8. Down and Out in Paris and London
9. Facing Unpleasant Facts
10. Homage to Catalonia
11. Essays (Everyman's Library Classics
12. Burmese Days
13. George Orwell: Animal Farm, Burmese
14. Coming Up for Air (Harvest Book)
15. George Orwell's 1984 (Max Notes)
16. Why I Write (Penguin Great Ideas)
17. George Orwell
18. 1984 (Signet Classics) (Mass Market
19. The Collected Essays, Journalism
20. Burmese Days, Keep the Aspidistra

1. Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2003-05-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452284236
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Thought Police. Big Brother. Orwellian. These words have entered our vocabulary because of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984. The story of one man's nightmare odyssey as he pursues a forbidden love affair through a world ruled by warring states and a power structure that controls not only information but also individual thought and memory, 1984 is a prophetic, haunting tale.

More relevant than ever before, 1984 exposes the worst crimes imaginable-the destruction of truth, freedom, and individuality.
With a new forward by Thomas Pynchon.Amazon.com Review
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, NineteenEighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristicpurgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers politicalsatirist George Orwell's nightmare vision of a totalitarian, bureaucraticworld and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance ofthe novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life--the ubiquity of television,the distortion of the language--and his ability to construct such a thoroughversion of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, itranks among the most terrifying novels ever written. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1612)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic reading
Read it in high school enjoyed it then, and with all the unrest in society today, bought it for my collection, it's scary how close it is to actually occuring.

5-0 out of 5 stars 1984- More than just philospohy
When you finish reading 1984, you don't know what to do with yourself for the next couple of hours. The themes of the novel are so thought provoking and powerful that it leaves you stupefied. However, the book is more than just a philosophical message. One of the reasons that Orwell's message is so powerful is because the characters are rich and the plot (forbidden love in a loveless world) is captivating. Not onlydid Orwell have some incredibly penetrating ideas, but he knew how to express them in a very well written story. 5 out of 5!

4-0 out of 5 stars 1984
America's Galactic Foreign Legion: Book 1: Feeling Lucky (Volume 1)

I can't believe they still force kids in school to read this book.That probably accounts a lot for sales.But, I'll admit it is a good book well worth reading.I just don't like being forced.

4-0 out of 5 stars Depressing stuff
Depressing stuff and quite emotional, considering that I have experienced some of this dismal world for 18 years (xUSSR). On the other hand it is very much up-to-date. People are getting brainwashed today. Yesterday, absolutely everybody believed in Global Warming and if you didn't you were an enemy. Then in a blink of an eye Global Warming mutated into Climate Change. Again, everybody believes in it. They don't understand it, but they believe in it. They don't question it. They no longer have an ability/brain power to do it. They blindly believe/trust someone who allegedly knows more. Some who have retained the ability to question are the enemies. How many scientist who dared to voice their disbelieve in Global Warming were booed down by their colleagues and had to quit?

It is but one example.
That's life, isn't it?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Double-plus-good Meditation on the Inherent Stupidity of the Modern World
Dear Reader,

If you enjoy stories featuring time travel, candy, teddy bears, light humor, or Beethoven and ultraviolence, I'm afraid you are looking at the wrong book altogether.NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, I am sad to say, has none of these in its several hundred dreadful pages.It does, however, discuss such terrible things as Big Brother; Winston Smith; varicose ulcers; Doublethink, or self-distortion of reality; Newspeak, a language developed for the destruction of self-expression and filtering of speakers' thoughts; Julia, Winston's girlfriend; telescreens; Room 101; and rats.I can see already that you are terrified by my brief description of this book, so let me suggest that you promptly look for something less depressing, such as the delightful A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS.

With all due respect,
Mango Fugue ... Read more

2. Finding George Orwell in Burma
by Emma Larkin
Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-03-06)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143037110
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In one of the most intrepid travelogues in recent memory, Emma Larkin tells of the year she spent traveling through Burma, using as a compass the life and work of George Orwell, whom many of Burma’s underground teahouse intellectuals call simply "the Prophet." In stirring prose, she provides a powerful reckoning with one of the world’s least free countries. Finding George Orwell in Burma is a brave and revelatory reconnaissance of modernBurma, one of the world’s grimmest and most shuttered police states, where the term "Orwellian" aptly describes the life endured by the country’s people. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (40)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best written and engrossing books I ever read
This book is by far one of the best written and engrossing books that I have ever read.I obtained and readit primarily for my interest in Burma (Call it Mynamar if you want to but calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one).The author's style of writing holds your interest and her story line literally flows smoothly like the Irrawaddy River.She seamlessly blends socio-politcal issues of present day Burma with past events in that country both relating to Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) and British Colonial history.
This book is a delight to read and I could not put it down once I started it.Indeed, she has even kindled an interest in Orwell in me and I will buy and re-read, "1984", "Animal Farm".I will also buy and read "Burma Days" for the first time.
Summing up, Larkin, has in the cricket term, "hit it for six" (home run to us Yanks) and has approached Orwell from an untried angle and done it beautifully.
BUY THIS BOOK if you have the slightest interest in Orwell or Burma (past and present)!

5-0 out of 5 stars Book never came from seller.
Book never arrived- seller sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks later saying they were out of stock.I think I'm still waiting for my refund, too.

Five stars because I'm sure when I read it I'll be thrilled- product shouldn't be poorly reviewed because of a bookseller's problem.

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant juxtaposition of Orwell and Burmese life
I'm married to a Burmese woman and go to Burma frequently to visit. I'd say Emma Larkin has captured the soul and struggles of that country perfectly in her Finding George Orwell in Burma. She juxtaposes the daily life of average Burmese with the Orwellian government. She uses some of Orwell's most famous works, including Burmese Days: A Novel, Animal Farm and 1984, and 1984 (Signet Classics) as metaphors for life and politics under Burma's colonial, socialist, and present military governments. The analogy fits like a glove. If you've been to Burma, read this book to understand what you might not have seen on the tourist routes. If you haven't been to Burma, Finding George Orwell in Burma is the next best thing.

4-0 out of 5 stars More Burma than Orwell, but that's okay...
Minor issues, pro or con: on pp. 280-281, Larkin summarizes the endings of most of Orwell's novels. (So much for a spoiler alert.) And the cover is very nicely done. With the hardcover remaindered, it's probably the nicest book I've held in my hands in awhile.

The main problem with this piece should be quickly gotten out of the way, especially as many readers won't likely think of it as an issue. Emma Larkin is an American and reads Orwell like an American.

For Americans, Orwell was this chap who wrote the two best works of political fiction in the twentieth century, which just happened to be quite useful in fighting the Cold War. He wrote a couple of good essays to boot.

For the British, Orwell was one of the greatest prose stylists the English language ever produced, whose last two novels the American go ape about. Orwell seemingly wrote about everything -- class distinctions, childhood memories, food, writing, war, morality, death, poverty, schooling, colonialism, you name it -- and the British seem congenitally unable to write a couple hundred pages of prose without quoting him. This is obviously a richer view.

Emma Larkin, for her part, adds _Burmese days_ to the usual American duo of _Animal farm_ and _Nineteen eighty-four_, forming what the Burmese consider "an unintentional trilogy" that records their history since the 1920s. Focusing on these three works is admittedly logical, but there was much more to Orwell.

Indeed, the main thing that Larkin found in travels to Burma was that there wasn't that much to find about an obscure policeman from eighty years earlier. Her discoveries are tantalizing in places -- she flirts, for instance, with the possibility that Orwell might have had some Burmese blood in him -- but what she adds to our understanding of the writer is context. The biographers of Orwell realistically didn't know that much about Burma -- did any of them even visit the country? -- so Larkin paints a much more vivid picture of the land and Orwell's time in it: why being stationed in the delta might have turned him against the system, how he arrived in the middle of a crime wave that was frustrating British authorities, etc. Towards the end, as Larkin makes her way to Katha, it's hard not to have a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew detective thrill when she finds buildings that may have been the real life setting for _Burmese days_. For this, this book is a `must read' for Orwell fans.

But ideally, the book will be read wider. Let's face it: for Americans, Burma as a country has gone down the memory hole (called Myanmar). It's like Burma is a country that existed in the past, like a fantasy country from a childhood book that we stopped believing in long before we got to seventh-grade geography. (After all, it's main river is called the Irriwaddy.) Vietnam is central to American history and immigrants very visible in certain regions of the country, there are Thai restaurants in probably every major city in the US, etc. But Burma doesn't exist on American mental maps. Little information comes out of the country and that's ignored because it doesn't fit into any larger story. (Search `Burma' on flickr. There's something odd about the results.)

The great strength of this book then is that it puts a human face, or rather, many human faces on this forgotten country in which the rulers acts as if _Nineteen Eighty-four_ is a `how to' manual.To incite our curiosity about their lives and anger about their fates -- that is no small feat.From bibliophiles to snotty police to tortured political prisoners to awkward locals afraid that a foreigner in their presence will draw unwanted attention to Anglo-Burmese who did not get out in time and are stuck fading into history, they're all very much alive and real as they're struggling to survive in a tragically totalitarian Alice in Wonderland. One scene in a hotel captures this:

I had stayed here a few times on previous visits, and remember the first time, when the front-desk manager asked me what time I would like my supper.
`Seven thirty?' I suggested.
`That, madam, is the correct answer.'
As I turned to walk away, he asked, `And what would madam like to eat?'
`Um... fish?'
`That, madam, is incorrect. There is chicken or there is beef.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!
One of the best written books I've ever read! Emma Larkin's book shows us the horrific suffering in Burma that is largely ignored by the media around the world.

It is fascinating to see how George Orwell, perhaps unconsciously, had predicted in his writings what would happen in Burma after independence. Interestingly, the current Burmese regime is using the British colonial laws and rules to suppress freedoms and human rights of the people in Burma. Emma Larkin shows how the British created the ground in Burma, as in many other countries, for cruel dictatorships and oppression. ... Read more

3. Animal Farm: Centennial Edition
by George Orwell
Paperback: 128 Pages (2003-05-06)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452284244
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.

With a new forward by Gore Vidal. Amazon.com Review
Since its publication in 1946, George Orwell's fable of a workers'revolution gone wrong has rivaled Hemingway's The Old Man and theSea as the Shortest Serious Novel It's OK to Write a Book Report About.(The latter is three pages longer and less fun to read.) Fueled by Orwell'sintense disillusionment with Soviet Communism, Animal Farm is anearly perfect piece of writing, both an engaging story and an allegorythat actually works. When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust theirdrunken human master and take over management of the land, all are awash incollectivist zeal. Everyone willingly works overtime, productivity soars,and for one brief, glorious season, every belly is full. The animals' SevenCommandment credo is painted in big white letters on the barn. All animalsare equal. No animal shall drink alcohol, wear clothes, sleep in a bed, orkill a fellow four-footed creature. Those that go upon four legs or wingsare friends and the two-legged are, by definition, the enemy. Too soon,however, the pigs, who have styled themselves leaders by virtue of theirintelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power. "We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of the farm depend on us. Day and night, we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." While this swinishbrotherhood sells out the revolution, cynically editing the SevenCommandments to excuse their violence and greed, the common animals areonce again left hungry and exhausted, no better off than in the days whenhumans ran the farm. Satire Animal Farm may be, but it's a stonyreader who remains unmoved when the stalwart workhorse, Boxer, having givenhis all to his comrades, is sold to the glue factory to buy booze for thepigs. Orwell's view of Communism is bleak indeed, but given the history ofthe Russian people since 1917, his pessimism has an air ofprophecy. --Joyce Thompson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1258)

1-0 out of 5 stars Yuck! Gag Me....
To start, despite being the typical boy-crazy, fun-loving fifteen-year old girl, I still appreciate classics and good literature, and read classics for fun AS WELL AS for school. I read Memoirs of a Geisha (LOVE IT!) when I was ten, and The Da Vinci Code when I was ten, and many more classics when I was nine and older, et cetera. What I'm saying is that yes, I do read classics for fun, and ENJOY THEM, and even SOME of the ones I have had to read for school. But this crap? This was forced on me. Animal Farm is easily one of the worst books I have ever read, hands down. Thank goodness I did not buy this, and only borrowed it from school!

Animal Farm describes the slow but steady takeover of the animals (most specifically the pigs) of the farm after the abusive owners (Mr. Jones and company) are forcibly turned out after the animals are informed by Boxer about how they can have power. It goes on from there describing how the slow takeover and metaphorical sense of the pigs turning into humans in the end takes place. Good plot? Perhaps. Good book? HECK no!

First off, the setting was dull. One of the rules of mine for adding a favorite book in my collection is the setting has to be one I love. This did not do it for me. The whole book did not even leave the farm. A little uninteresting!

The characters bugged the crap out of me. Napoleon was an annoying idiot who I wanted to die by the end of the book. He was a jerk. All the pigs annoy me. In fact, I did not like ONE single character. THAT'S how bad this book was. No likable characters, no character development. Zip. Nada. None. Plus, it is unbelievable how DUMB the characters were, not to know what was happening. Even in real-life history, there are smart people who refuse to be taken over by the government and such. NOT PLAUSIBLE OR BELIEVABLE.

The writing. Too simple. Too plain. Too unadorned. In fact, if I EVER hear the phrase/word "COMRADES" one more time, I will SCREAM! That word was repeated EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. I swear. The song "Beasts of England" and such was annoying.

The plot was UNBELIEVABLY DULL, for such an explosive concept. I groaned at several points throughout this book, per chapter. It was agony. Pure, unadulterated agony. In fact, I was seized (FREQUENTLY!) by violent urges to throw the book across the room while reading several times (again, per chapter)and throttle it.

In short, finishing this crap-fest was one of the most accomplishing and wonderful moments of my life. I do NOT recommend this book. In fact, it's like Charlotte's Web, but with Communism. And I outgrew Charlotte's Web when I was nine.

* In closing, if forced to read this, I pity you. If you love it and buy it voluntarily, frankly I don't understand. BUT I implore people to BORROW it, and NOT buy it. It was an utter travesty, from beginning to end.

*Actually GOOD classics!*

*Pride and Prejudice
*Anne of Green Gables (UNABRIDGED VERSION!)
*Little Women
*Les Miserables
*A Tale of Two Cities

And many more books, not all of them certified "classics", though. :)

5-0 out of 5 stars Flat-out Masterpiece
Short as it is, this work represents all that Orwell had been leading to all his life. It's a satire and a fable -- and in very simple terms outlines the dangers of tyranny, the corruption of ideals. Orwell uses the Communist revolution as a template: and points out how, in the end, "some animals are more equal than others" -- that is, the essential greediness of us all. In darker, more subtle terms, it suggests, too, that we are, in essence, animals ourselves -- we cannot escape our dark primal nature. And we need to always be aware and vigilant of this. It's a chilling, sad, illuminating and very effective masterpiece. Every time I read it, it affects me more!

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful parable that reflects human weakness for power
This was the first political book I ever read, at age 12.I had never seen anything like it, but I knew it was about how power was used and abused, how it twisted the hearts of those who held it, pursuing a logic of its own.That reading experience was the start, I think, of my love for history and politics.I enjoyed the book so much that I gave it to my children, who have also become fascinated with the many levels you can find in it.

It was only much later that I realized the story was first about the USSR, with the dream of the old pig (Marx), and the fights between substitutes for Lenin, Trotsky/Zinoviev, and Stalin.Though many reviewers harp on this as a lesson against communism, I see that as only one level on which the book can be read:it goes much deeper than that, as a critique not just of totalitarianism but of the soul of man, how we can justify horrible behavior not only as naked self-interest, but under an ideological cloak.

Any interpretation, I think, will fail to do justice in any definitive way to what Orwell intended:to provoke discussion on our own choices and actions, on our will to make horrible compromises in our pursuit of some idea of justice or equality.

Warmly recommended.This is still a great read after 40 years from my first reading!Nothing else that he wrote comes close to this, I think, is intellectual fecundity.

4-0 out of 5 stars Made a great gift!
This book made a great gift for my son...he really enjoyed this classic enhanced with the great illustrations...

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Animal Farm.
It's one of the best books involving communism I've ever read.Nothing more to say. ... Read more

4. A Collection of Essays
by George Orwell
Paperback: 324 Pages (1970-10-21)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156186004
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

In this bestselling compilation of essays, written in the clear-eyed, uncompromising language for which he is famous, Orwell discusses with vigor such diverse subjects as his boyhood schooling, the Spanish Civil War, Henry Miller, British imperialism, and the profession of writing.
Amazon.com Review
Imagine any of today's writers of "creative nonfiction" dispatching a rogueelephant before an audience of several thousand. Now, imagine the essaythat would result. Can we say "narcissism"? As part of the Imperial Policein Burma, George Orwell actually found himself aiming the gun, and hisrecord--first published in 1936--comprises eight of the highest voltagepages of English prose you'll ever read. In "Shooting an Elephant," Orwellillumines the shoddy recesses of his own character, illustrates the morallycorrupting nature of imperialism, and indicts you, the reader, in thecreature's death, a process so vividly reported it's likely to show up inyour nightmares ever after. "The owner was furious, but he was only anIndian and could do nothing.... Among the Europeans opinion was divided.Theolder men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing acoolie, because an elephant was worth much more than any damn Coringhee coolie."

This essay alone would be worth the cover price, and the dozen other piecescollected here prove that, given the right thinker/writer, today'sjournalism actually can become tomorrow's literature. "The Art of DonaldMcGill," ostensibly an appreciation of the jokey, vaguely obsceneillustrated postcards beloved of the working classes, uses the lens ofpopular culture to examine the battle lines and rules of engagement in thewar of the sexes, circa 1941. "Politics and the English Language" is aprose working-out of Orwell's perceptions about the slippery relationshipof word and thought that becomes a key premise of 1984. "Looking Back onthe Spanish War" is as clear-eyed a veteran's memoir of the nature of waras you're likely to find, and Orwell's long ruminations on the wildlypopular "good bad" writers Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling showcase hissingular virtues--searing honesty and independent thinking. From Englishboarding schools to Gandhi's character to an early appreciation of HenryMiller's Tropic ofCancer, these pieces give an idiosyncratic tour of the first halfof the passing century in the company of an articulate and engaged guide. Don't let the idea that Orwell is an "important" writer put you off readinghim. He's really too good, and too human, to miss. --Joyce Thompson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Collection of Essays by George Orwell is a festschrift of outstanding writing on many topics by George Orwell
George Orwell (1903-50) is famous to most people for his two greatest works of fiction "Animal Farm" and "1984" However there is much more gold in the minefield of Orwell's brain! He wrote several more novels, was a World War II correspondent and a BBC commentator. Whatever Orwell wrote is worth reading. In this Collection of Essays published by Harvest Harcourt Press we see the great essayist at his best.
The subjects covered are:
1. Such Such Were the Joys-An ironic title since Orwell's experience in an oppressive English boy's school were horrific. Young Orwell was savagely beaten, nearly starved, insulted and forced to endure years of living in drafty dormitory rooms. His desciption of the snobbery and elitism of British schooling is an indictment more withering than that offered on the same topic by Charles Dickens in his "Nicholas Nickleby" novel. Orwell's essays was suppressed by the government for many years.
2. Charles Dickens is a careful reading of the great Boz. Dickens, says Orwell, called on the powers to be to live moral and kindly lives. He points out the faults and achievements of Dickens writing career.
3. The Art of Donald McGill refers to cheap sensational fiction published for the masses in Britain. This chapter is not too interesting for us American lads and lassies.
4. Rudyard Kipling-Orwell was born in India and has a keen interest in Kipling's depiction of the British Empire in the Raj and the waning days of the British Empire. Intellectuals hate Kipling but the public enjoys his work.
5. Raffles and Miss Blandish looks at the novel by E. Hornung written in the late Victorian period concerning a gentleman jewel thief who is redeemed by dying for Queen and Country on the battlefied of the Boer War. Miss Blandish is a modern novel revealing the brutality and violence manifest in modern fiction.
6. Shooting an Elephant goes back to Orwell's career as a British official in Burma when he was called upon to shoot an elephant running amok in the marketplace. Orwell hated British imperialism. This short essays often appears in literary anthologies.
7. Politics and the English Language examines hypocrisy and deception in offical government pronouncements and in the political world. A shade here of his later novel "1984"!
8. Reflections on Gandhi gives Orwell's views on the great ledader of Indian independence. He admires Gandhi.
9. Marrakech makes you feel the heat, stench and ambience of life in colonial Africa in the 1930s.
9. Looking Back on the Spanish War is a short reflection on Orwell's career as a soldier in the liberal government's army against Franco and the Fascists. A gruesome and truthful piece of reportage! He also wrote a book on his experiences in the Spanish Civl War entitled "Homage to Catalonia."
9. Inside the Whale is an examination of British literary tastes since the end of World War I.This chapter contains a good critique of "Tropic of Cancer" by Henry Miller.Other writers he discusses include Aldous Huxley, Evely Waugh,m D.H. Lawrence and poet A.E. Houseman.
10. England Your England is an intimate view of the tastes and belief of the great British public. Orwell was ambivalent about his nation loving and hating it in equal measure.
11. Boys Weeklies examines the various cheap periodicals appealing to boys and adolescents.
12. Why I Write says Orwell is to bring to the attention of the public the great political and social issues of the time in which he was living. A good credo for any creative artist to follow.
George Orwell was a champion of Democracy and an essayist who couldexpress his thoughts in a clear prose which is a wonder to behold. He is always a treat to read. No wonder Christopher Hitchens the present day essayist and columnist for Vanity Fair has been inspired by Orwell's life, work and commitment to justice for all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable range and insight
Hemingway is the quintessential action-oriented writer, the writer who jumps into the fray, but after reading these essays, I'd put Orwell in a virtual tie.Orwell's first job as an adult was serving the British Empire as an overseer in Burma, where he learned to hate the racism and represssion that was at the heart of the Empire.Later, Orwell fought with the communists in Spain, and then he was in London during the bombings of WWII.

Many of the essays in this collection deal with his experiences in those dangerous, radical, intense times.He writes about being cowed into shooting an escaped elephant in Burma because he had to look decisive in front of several thousand Burmese subjects.He writes about accusing a dark-skinned country boy of theft in the Spanish-Franco war, only to see that his accusation was incorrect, and then finding ways to make amends (and noting that he would not have had the nerve to make amends, nor would his efforts have been accepted, except in the unreality of wartime).He writes about opposing Fascism as WWII loomed, and his contempt for the pro-communist and pro-socialist intellectuals who shifted from one position to another as the political winds blew.These are searing, angry essays, full of tight observations about the duplicity of people with power and the powerlessness of the working class.

Many other other essays in the book also deal with power, but through very different lenses.For example, the collection opens with his long, multi-part memoir of life as a scholarship student at a public school.His tales are not especially different than those told by others about the harsh, class-conscious atmosphere and the sadistic headmasters, inadequate food rations, and uncomfortable living conditions.Yet Orwell teases out some fascinating intellectual observations, too. For example, he talks about wetting his bed, and then being told that it was a sin and being caned for it: his comment is that he learned he had sinned without even wanting to sin.Same thing with masturbation, which he wasn't doing, but which he was accused of doing because he was a poor boy.Here he was marked as a sinner for something he wasn't actually even doing and didn't even understand at the time.

Then, Orwell turns his attention in several essays to literary criticism and language.He looks at Dickens from a socialist point of view and finds that socialists are seeking a perspective that just isn't there.Orwell sees Dickens as a master at pointing out social ills, especially as they are visited on children, but utterly lacking in any solutions for the problems.Dickens basically asks the question, "Can't we all just get along?" and he sees individual morality as the only way to improve appalling social conditions.Orwell points out that it's hard to decide which comes first -- better social conditions or better morality -- though certainly some level of safety and creature comforts are needed before humanity has the luxury of thinking about "higher" matters.

About language, he finds parallels between sloppy, cliched language and sloppy thinking and dishonest political discourse.It's a point that is fairly common today, but which he probably striking in its time.In fact, the essays are full of observations that seem remarkably fresh for having been made in the 1930s.

One other essay was compelling for me: Gandhi.Orwell doesn't revere Gandhi as a saint, but he has more complimentary things to say about him than about any other person in the essays.He points out the remarkable achievement of India's independence, even if Gandhi's fullest dreams for a peaceful independence were not realized. He points out Gandhi's openness to all people and his raw physical courage (which cost him his life because he refused to have bodyguards).And he points out the limits of pacifism in a world in which totalitarian regimes would take advantage of pacifists to simply wipe them out.

These essays are so remarkable that I will read more Orwell essays in the future. Just as importantly, the essays have made me determined to read more about some of the events and people who are discussed in them.I have read a lot of Dickens, but I haven't read Kipling, and I know little about Gandhi or the Spanish Civil War.So Orwell has not only opened my mind with his essays, but he has propelled me to learn about new things.

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell at the top of his game - a joy to read.
Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation. This collection contains several classic essays -- "Shooting an Elephant", "Politics and the English Language", "Such, Such were the Joys" (memories of his schooldays) -- as well as amazing pieces on Dickens, Kipling, and the state of literature in the 1930s ("Inside the Whale"). Whether writing about the English national character, analyzing the content and effect of popular comics for boys, or explaining his own compulsion to write, Orwell is always engaging and writes in clear, crisp prose that most essayists can only aspire to.

These extraordinary essays will sweep away any niggling resentment of Orwell you might feel because you were forced to read "Animal Farm" and/or "1984" in high school, and inspire you to seek out more of his work.

This is a great collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey forth
A good writer can take you places; George Orwell, better than good, can take you places you never imagined.
Originally, I started to read Orwell's essays to learn his thoughts on language and writing. Then, because those essays were excellent, I visited--via Orwell--the boarding school where he received--somewhat unhappily-- his primary school education ("Such, Such Were the Joys. . ."), the Indian village where he acted--against his instincts--just to not appear foolish ("Shooting an Elephant"), and the slums of ("Marrakech"). . .
Additionally, I learned Orwell's opinion of risque post cards, the character of his countrymen, and Gandhi. . .

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding read
i havefinished less than 30% of this collection of essays and i already enjoy this book.

if you are interested in becoming more acquainted with the mind behind 1984, then this is an excellent companion
... Read more

5. Animal Farm and 1984
by George Orwell
Hardcover: 400 Pages (2003-06-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$14.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0151010269
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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George Orwell's classic satire of the Russian Revolution is an intimate part of our contemporary culture. It is the account of the bold struggle, initiated by the animals, that transforms Mr. Jones's Manor Farm into Animal Farm--a wholly democratic society built on the credo that All Animals Are Created Equal. Out of their cleverness, the pigs Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball emerge as leaders of the new community in a subtle evolution that proves disastrous. The climax is the brutal betrayal of the faithful horse Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: But some Animals Are More Equal Than Others. . . .


In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.
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Customer Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read
George Orwell's classic works warning against the rise of the State as the arbiter and guardian of human well-being are more pertinent now than ever.While the threat of Communism is receding, there is an American intellectual love-affair with socialism that ignores the quagmire that Western Europe has become and remains well after the fall of the Soviet Union.

In easy to understand, simplistic storytelling, Orwell traces the replacement of one system of domination and exploitation with another in "Animal Farm".And astute followers of current events as well as history will note more than a few startling prognostications in "1984".Relegating these books to the Cold War period does not do them justice or adequately account for the many guises that human avarice and greed for power can take.

These stories should be mandatory reading - not just in school, but throughout our lives as reminders of how quickly and easily freedom can be replaced with slavery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Please, PLEASE read these books!!!
I read these books in high school.There was much discussion of how like the (then) USSR's government seemed to parallel the Animal Farm characters and their behavior, and the controls on information in the Soviet Union at that time seemed right out of 1984.

It is absolutely astonishing to see the parallels that present themselves in the current US government, and the media (controlling information and disinformation) as well.I would love to see a discussion of what role people see our president in:Squealer or Napoleon.And if he's Squealer, who is Napoleon?

Please read, or reread, these books!!! Orwell was warning the world--we should be listening!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Animal Farm...
This book just arrived in China -- and it is perfect. My colleague has read teh Chinese only version and he is so excited to have an English manuscript...

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell Hardly Needs My Review
You are reading a gaggle of reviews for this book, many of which ramble on and on, some going so far as to give you a complete tell-all description of the book, a few of which are utter nonsense.For a concise, intelligent review-- one that does not yammer on so much but does say more than the obvious-- read Christopher Hitchen's introduction.In other words, do yourself a favor and scroll to the top of this page then click on "Search inside this book."You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A View into our Near Future
I enjoyed reading both of these George Orwell novels, but found them distressing at the same time, especially 1984.I remember watching the movie on TV fifty years ago, but reading the book has ten times the impact.

It's amazing how well Orwell could project into the future and describe so well the very things we are experiencing today, the loss of freedoms, the micromanaging involvement of the government into our daily lives, the Thought Police, control of what words were permitted, constant survaillance in our lives, continually rewriting history to fit the political agenda, Doublespeak, Doublethink, etc.

Now, after reading 1984, I found many news items triggering mental images of what was contained in this Orwell novel.It's truely scarry.

This book should be on the library shelves of every home in America. ... Read more

6. All Art Is Propaganda
by George Orwell, Keith Gessen
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-10-14)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156033070
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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As a critic, George Orwell cast a wide net. Equally at home discussing Charles Dickens and Charlie Chaplin, he moved back and forth across the porous borders between essay and journalism, high art and low. A frequent commentator on literature, language, film, and drama throughout his career, Orwell turned increasingly to the critical essay in the 1940s, when his most important experiences were behind him and some of his most incisive writing lay ahead.

All Art Is Propaganda follows Orwell as he demonstrates in piece after piece how intent analysis of a work or body of work gives rise to trenchant aesthetic and philosophical commentary. With masterpieces such as "Politics and the English Language" and "Rudyard Kipling" and gems such as "Good Bad Books," here is an unrivaled education in, as George Packer puts it, "how to be interesting, line after line."

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell: An eternal contemporary
This title is a companion volume to one titled Facing Unpleasant Facts.That volume dealt with many of the famous narrative essays produced in Orwell's career, whereas this one has selections of what the editor calls `Critical Essays".Both are highly valuable as source material for those interested in Orwell.In fact, I believe that he was a far better essayist and first-person writer than he ever was a novelist.

The books that his legacy stands on for most readers are good, but in his essays we can see him explore the ideas that lead to the creation of both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm: Centennial Edition. In fact, both the essays "Politics and the English Language" and "The Prevention of Literature" could be easily attached as appendices to those books (both essays are in the present volume).

The only practical issue with this book is that many of the essays are more of the literary criticism approach or movie reviews (even if he would hate that characterization).If you do not have a familiarity with the source material that he is reviewing, you might seem out of sorts.In essays on both the careers of Dickens and Tolstoy I felt a disconnect because it taxed my limited familiarity with those authors.

The interesting thing about Orwell's writing is that the prerequisite knowledge is not really necessary.He uses the essay form to great strength, using what he is often ostensibly writing about as a launching point to talk about the world at large.In this sense, I kept thinking that on many levels his work is some of the first that could really be at home in a cultural studies department.I then realized that his writing voice precludes that.His work is and his voice is a plain, clear English that he advocated and is free of jargon.As smart as Orwell is, his writing feels like a conversation with an interesting and clever friend, which must be why I keep going back to his

5-0 out of 5 stars A peek into the mind of Orwell
This selection of essays provides excellent insight for anyone who appreciates the theories of George Orwell.
Readers will get a better understanding of class warfare, secrets of great communicators, totalitarianism, the effects of literature, and, of course, propaganda. I especially enjoyed his essay on "The Prevention of Literature", as it implies the ideas written into his masterpiece known as 1984.

I highly recommend this book to all writers and political thinkers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Film Feature
I read only one writing in this collection for the rather pompous reason that there was a solefilm review that I had never read anywhere else and I wanted my Orwell wanderings to be complete.

The Great Dictator was the film that enraged Hitler. The right wing has always spewed venom on Charles Chaplin...perhaps it was because he was a leftist Hitler look alike who had a great media influence in his day. Orwell gave this film a great review except for some technical shortcomings. Orwell wanted the English government to subsidize the film's distribution during the War which would have been cost effective and appropriate...

"The government should subsidize the Great Dictator heavily and try to get copies into Germany."

Fat chance.

On Chaplin, the twentieth century everyman, Orwell wrote...

"What is Chaplin's particular gift? If it is his power to stand for a sort of concentrated essence of the common man, for the ineradicable belief in decency that exists in the hearts of ordinary people, at any rate in the West." p146.

These selections are worth the time to read, as is nearly everything Orwell wrote. The reader is warned, however,that many Orwell collections are overlapping or fragmentary. Look carefully at the table of contents of Orwell collections to save money before buying and look at my numerous Orwell reviews for guidance. Regards.

4-0 out of 5 stars Superb collections of thoughts
Offering a wide range of Orwell's essays, which were mostly written late in his remarkable life, this collection will stimulate your thinking about entertainment, writing, politics, and other topics.Orwell writes to make one think.Reading these essays is like having a provocative conversation with one of the most interesting and broad-spectrum minds of the first half of the 20th century.Definitely recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provides Orwell's reflections on a range of critical topics from literature to art
George Orwell was a fine essayist and successful critic, discussing art and literature with equal ability and ALL ART IS PROPAGANDA: CRITICAL ESSAYS is a key recommendation for all kinds of libraries, from college-level collections strong in literature and social observation to collection also strong in art criticism. It's the latter that should especially consider ALL ART IS PROPAGANDA: it provides Orwell's reflections on a range of critical topics from literature to art. Very highly recommended.
... Read more

7. Nineteen Eighty-Four
by George Orwell
Kindle Edition: 368 Pages (2009-01-14)
list price: US$19.00
Asin: B000SEH4AW
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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Nineteen Eighty-Four revealed George Orwell as one of the twentieth century’s greatest mythmakers. While the totalitarian system that provoked him into writing it has since passed into oblivion, his harrowing cautionary tale of a man trapped in a political nightmare has had the opposite fate: its relevance and power to disturb our complacency seem to grow decade by decade. In Winston Smith’s desperate struggle to free himself from an all-encompassing, malevolent state, Orwell zeroed in on tendencies apparent in every modern society, and made vivid the universal predicament of the individual.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

8. Down and Out in Paris and London
by George Orwell
Paperback: 228 Pages (1972-03-15)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 015626224X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This unusual fictional account, in good part autobiographical, narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.
Amazon.com Review
What was a nice Eton boy like Eric Blair doing in scummy slums instead ofbeing upwardly mobile at Oxford or Cambridge? Living Down and Out inParis and London, repudiating respectable imperialist society, andreinventing himself as George Orwell. His 1933 debut book (ostensibly anovel, but overwhelmingly autobiographical) was rejected by that elitistpublisher T.S. Eliot, perhaps because its close-up portrait of lowlife wastoo pungent for comfort.

In Paris, Orwell lived in verminous rooms and washed dishes at theoverpriced "Hotel X," in a remarkably filthy, 110-degree kitchen. He met"eccentric people--people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad groovesof life and given up trying to be normal or decent." Though Orwell's toneis that of an outraged reformer, it's surprising how entertaining many ofhis adventures are: gnawing poverty only enlivens the imagination, and thewild characters he met often swindled each other and themselves. Thewackiest tale involves a miser who ate cats, wore newspapers for underwear,invested 6,000 francs in cocaine, and hid it in a face-powder tin when thecops raided. They had to free him, because the apparently controlledsubstance turned out to be face powder instead of cocaine.

In London, Orwell studied begging with a crippled expert named Bozo, agreat storyteller and philosopher. Orwell devotes a chapter to the finepoints of London guttersnipe slang. Years later, he would put his lexicalbent to work by inventing Newspeak, and draw on his down-and-out experienceto evoke the plight of the Proles in 1984. Though marred byhints of unexamined anti-Semitism, Orwell's debut remains, as TheNation put it, "the most lucid portrait of poverty in the Englishlanguage." --Tim Appelo ... Read more

Customer Reviews (108)

5-0 out of 5 stars A tale of poverty. THIS EDITION IS A WASTE OF MONEY.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell is an incredible story about poverty. Orwell describes the experiences of being out of work, then of working as a plongeur (a dish washer - one of the lowest jobs imaginable) in Paris, and of becoming a tramp in London. Orwell writes beautifully with humour and describes each of the experiences with great details while maintaining the reader's interest. This novel is about poverty, but if you are looking for a story with a proper plot, then this in not the book for you.

The novel is written in first person, yet the protagonist is never named. This story is thought to include many events from Orwell's life. Orwell's stories are magnificent and are those that I always recall because they can be related to the real world.

The protagonist is an Englishman whose money is one day stolen, and as an English teacher, he is left without work because he no longer has any students. The little money he has left is getting spent too quickly, and each day he has less and less. He contacts the only man he seems to know in Paris, and finds that he is, unfortunately, in the same situation - almost penniless and without work. Work is terribly difficult to find. The lodging houses are uncomfortable to sleep in for the night. How does the Englishman deal with poverty?

It is a sad tale that makes you feel grateful that you have a roof above your head; are not forced to eat bread, margarine, and tea as your only meals; and never have to starve yourself for days at a time if you are ever left penniless. It is shocking to see how far vagabonds traveled just for free tea or food.

May contain spoilers:

I believe one of the main points of this work was to emphasise that poverty is a cycle that likely will not come to an end unless the government steps in and does something productive with the tramps. The last paragraph states all that the protagonist learned throughout the tale: "I shall never again think that all tramps are drunken scoundrels, nor expect a beggar to be grateful when I give him a penny, nor be surprised if men out of work lack energy, nor subscribe to the Salvation Army, nor pawn my clothes, nor refuse a handbill, nor enjoy a meal at a smart restaurant." (213) Even after his tale, the protagonist concludes that he feels he has merely seen the fringes of poverty.


I would NOT recommend this edition. Everything seems to have a dash censoring it, even though those words are very important to the story. I had to purchase another edition just two weeks after, and now I have two.

4-0 out of 5 stars Poverty, Hunger, Food Service, and Homelessness as Seen by the Master Social Critic
As with other works of his, Orwell has a strong reformist purpose with this book, and in this instance, the topic under consideration is urban poverty, in its various gradations: unemployed and hungry, employed but stupefied by toil, and finally, homeless, or tramping, as the term was at the time. In each section, his the autobiographically-based protagonist has a number of colorful experiences and misadventures, which are then analyzed and remarked upon with Orwell's characteristic society-skewering and thought-provoking perspective.

In the first section of the book, the narrator is minimally and then unemployed, dodging his landlady, skipping meals, and living from pawnshop to mouth. I've encountered other descriptions of being hungry in literature, of course, but Orwell dwells on it here and the unrelieved tedium, frustration, and discomfort that such a life entails, illustrating it with observations such as this: "Hunger reduces on to an utterly spineless, brainless condition, more like the aftereffects of influenza than anything else." Reading this made me both grateful that I've never had to go through such hunger, yet also slightly curious to see how bad it is for myself.

In the second section, the narrator finds work as a plongeur, or dishwasher, at a fine Paris hotel. To anyone who has worked in food service (as a waiter, caterer, dishwasher, or the like), it will be both humorous and sad how little has changed in 70 years; to anyone who hasn't, it will be an eye-opening look at what goes on behind the scenes at restaurants and hotels. Looking back on 19-hour catering jobs, I can well relate to Orwell's observation that "Work in the hotel taught me the true value of sleep, just as being hungry had taught me the true value of food." And in that light, this section of the book reinforced my opinion that ideally everyone would have to do some service job sometime in their lives, both so they could sympathize forever after with those who later serve them, and for the intrinsically valuable lessons therein.

In the third and longest section, the narrator returns from Paris to England, and spends a lot of time tramping among the work houses, hostels, and other refuges of the homeless and vagrant. While he certainly had some harsh words about the dehumanizing effect of mindless drudgery like that of the plongeur, he saves his harshest criticism for his home country and the laws governing and conditions pertaining to the homeless. He calls out the hypocrisy of those who consider begging to be any different than any other profession, and regarding the physical and mental degradation of a fellow tramp, he comments "He had lived on this filthy imitation of food till his own mind and body were compounded of inferior stuff." Living in the Bay Area, with its substantial homeless population, Orwell's book has prompted some serious reflection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Never say never...
Can you imagine suddenly living in the slums and working like a madman just to eat and survive?That's what happens to the narrator of this story (Eric Blair?).He has lived a respectable life, never with worries.That is until his money gets stolen while in Paris.Now, with the help of a man with a lame leg, he will have to take whatever job comes his way until he can make enough money to survive and eat and to one day return to London.He does whatever is necessary, including considering writing for Russian communists in order to earn good money.(The Russian communists, however, are nothing but thieves themselves.)He resorts to working in the lowest positions at restaurants and hotels.The narrator learns about life in the slums, about the different slang words, the world of "tramps," and the hierarchy found in restaurants -- how waiters are considered better than cooks, etc.Tough lessons are learned.Will he be able to see the world and poverty the same way again?

This is an interesting novel.It is said that Down and Out in Paris and London is autobiographical.Eric Blair (pseudonym George Orwell) was an Eton-educated man and a writer on the rise.Had he gone through all of the horrors described in this book?The book tells some interesting backstories on characters and their lives in the streets.The vivid descriptions would lead one to believe that all of these things are true.This book is also full of humor.There are scenes that made me laugh.First published in 1933, Down and Out in Paris and London was Orwell's first published book.It is nowhere near as amazing or as vivid as 1984, but it's a great read if you like stuff about the early 20th Century slums.You won't regret it if you're a new Orwell fan like myself.

The kind of Entitlement we feel as Americans is something made up mostly of the funk exuded from the idol we revere of ourselves as Middle Class people -- one myth created by decades of Madison Avenue advertising, and a lie like most of them -- which we don't recognize because TV and pulp infortainment have blinded us with the vulgar dazzle of celebrity-hood, until dopey, we have come to feel that we know them, the celebrated PEOPLE people; that we share their quirks and inhsecurities; that we have so much in common with them -- trouble with excess weight, with prescription drugs, papparazzi, out-of-control credit card debt -- that we are celebrities too.That we too are people who need people who need people like us.I mean, we're all American, aren't we?A rich, successful and powerful classless society?...Of ordinary people, with excellent credit.No?But...Haven't you ever travelled to strange places and looked at your fellow-citizens and wondered sometimes, Who in the world do they think they are?So rude!So inane!So pretensious!And, of course, they're our Neighbors.Our selves.

I've heard it said, "With foreign travel its either palaces or poverty."But you don't have to go to another country to come face-to-face with the big P; with the unspeakable danger, Poverty.And that's what everybody's afraid of.Looking at a recently released and much-praised movie recently, THE WRESTLER, one sensed that this evocation in contemporary style of a favorite genre from Depression days, one had the feeling that much of the attention to it and praise of it was generated by the fact that it looked as though it might have been filmed in Manesquan, NJ; that is, on location somewhere below the poverty line.And the public reaction was sincere embarassment on one hand, and on the other, gratitude for not being that poor oneself.

DOWN AND OUT was published in 1933, that fateful year Roosevelt got his Congress and HItler got his Reischtag; the nadir of the Great Global Depression that began in '29, and the book was possibly written two or three years earlier.Considering the shape the world was in, with the financial systems of Europe and America and everywhere else in collapse, and including the inevitable unemployment and the resulting wide-spread poverty, it is astonishing to contemplate Orwell, young and only trying to make a career for himself, deciding to not run off to a foreign country, as he did later when he went to Spain, but deciding to leap head-first, as it were, into Poverty, POVERTY ITSELF, in the country just across the channel.Simply to have experiences?Simply to have something to write about?To have subjects for his fledgling journalism?Yes!Apparently so.On the final page of the book he writes that he believes he may have written a kind of Travel Book.He did!And the means are shocking; the effects quite free of tinted light.Except that the second, third and fourth letter of the commonest Anglo-Saxon epithet are deleted in print, there are no euphemisms.But oh! my foes and ah! my friends, the results are spectacular.What extraordinary courage!What powers of observation and description!

Here is a tourist who does not intend to look at the world through the windows of the Hilton lobby.Imagine:Without even a credit card!You don't know what to say.You stand back, gasp in admiration and wonder if you would ever have the nerve to undertake anything like it; the discomfort, the embarassment.Work as a Dishwasher?Me?And you wonder if you would ever have the nerve to be as honest with yourself as you wrote it?Honest about your squeamishness?About your dirt hatred.About being seen among uneducated people.About the fear of looking dirty.Or going a week without changing clothes.

The English have written some great travel books.I've always admired Cunningham-Grahame and Maugham, but this book is different.It doesn't cover much land or take a great deal of time, but it plummets to depths often ignored by other authors.Depths of the human soul and condition so terrifying to many -- which never terrified him -- I'm reminded of that french song...

"Children with faithful hearts have no fear of wolves."

Ritz Plongeur?Moi?Quelle cauchemar.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Grit
Gritty realism.

This is one of Orwell's three great travel journalism books. "Homage to Catalona," and "Road to Wigan Pier" being the other two. These three books are his greatest works; they identify Orwell's journalistic genius. This book was written at the encouragement or possible coercion of his publisher and has a history similar to "The Road To Wigan Pier." Do not forget the source material for this book when reading it.

The source material for this book can be found in "In an Age Like This" with its journals on poverty in London and Paris written in the twenties and thirties. One interesting essay, "How the Poor Die" was written much later and appears in "In Front of Your Nose"- the fourth of the four volume series edited by his last wife Sonia Orwell.

Written after WWII, "How the Poor Die" recounts his stay in an unnamed Paris charity hospital during his youth as a dishwasher during the period covered by "Down and Out in Paris and London." Morbid reading. Orwell had chronic lung problems, and describes in his essay what it was like becoming an anatomical subject for french medical students under early welfare state medicine.

Read the source material for this book to get a richer Orwell experience! ... Read more

9. Facing Unpleasant Facts
by George Orwell
Paperback: 336 Pages (2009-10-14)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156033135
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist, producing throughout his life an extraordinary array of short nonfiction that reflected--and illuminated--the fraught times in which he lived. "As soon as he began to write something," comments George Packer in his foreword, "it was as natural for Orwell to propose, generalize, qualify, argue, judge--in short, to think--as it was for Yeats to versify or Dickens to invent."

Facing Unpleasant Facts charts Orwell's development as a master of the narrative-essay form and unites such classics as "Shooting an Elephant" with lesser-known journalism and passages from his wartime diary. Whether detailing the horrors of Orwell's boyhood in an English boarding school or bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of the Spanish Civil War, these essays weave together the personal and the political in an unmistakable style that is at once plainspoken and brilliantly complex.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Orwell's Narrative Essays
You have to like Orwell quite a bit to buy his non-fiction work.I do like him quite a bit, and I happen to be writing a bunch of creative non-fiction essays about my own life growing up in America. So I purchased the volume that contains his narrative essays to see how he makes his own personal life universal.

I've read most everything he's written. My favorite fictional work is his first: _Burmese Days_. It's rather bleak, and so are some of his essays. "Shooting an Elephant" may be one of the best essays ever written about the effects of colonialism on the colonizers. I highly suggest it as bedside reading for any budding neo-conservative.

Not all of the essays in this volume are great, but they give you a nice glimpse into the mind of a true English leftie. Orwell lived a full but short life, and this book chronicles how he lived what he wrote--from living in "spikes" (what we would call homeless shelters) to fighting in the Spanish Civil War. I don't think Packer needed to put his war-time diary in the the book--a section that I basically perused. And I could care less about how Orwell likes his tea or his defense of English cooking. But Orwell lovers won't be disappointed with this volume.

5-0 out of 5 stars A blend of autobiography, memoir and social observation
George Orwell was an essayist before all, producing many short nonfiction works on the events of his times. This reveals his narrative essay skills, packing in a blend of autobiography, memoir and social observation in an outstanding collection. Many different types of collections will want this, from college-level libraries strong in Orwell studies to libraries with broad overall strengths in essays and literature.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch

4-0 out of 5 stars A nice sample of Orwell's essays
George Orwell is unavoidably associated with 1984, as well he should be. And if that's what it takes to keep the man's reputation going through another generation, then by all means let that be his main claim to fame. Orwell should be almost as famous for Homage To Catalonia, his heartbreaking report on the Spanish Civil War. Like many Europeans and some Americans (Hemingway among them), Orwell was on the losing side, fighting the fascists and losing much of his idealism along the way.

Most of the essays in Facing Unpleasant Facts come after Homage to Catalonia, so they all have a realist and rather bleak view of the world. The message throughout is that we all know certain facts about the world, but that somehow people have just avoided saying them; hence the title of the collection. Elsewhere, in his famous essay "Politics and the English Language," Orwell notes that the language itself has become impoverished and calcified; without someone to sandblast off the rubbish, it will be impossible to talk straightforwardly about the way the world actually is.

Orwell honors that goal in Facing Unpleasant Facts. He is the master of the common English sentence. He tells stories about British colonialism that are devastating and to the point, as in "Shooting an Elephant" -- a perfect little gem of an essay, in which Orwell recounts killing the beast just so that he won't look like a fool before his Burmese subjects. In this sort of essay, the story doesn't spin very far from Orwell himself; he lets the audience draw its own inferences about the nature of colonialism. In others -- quite a few others -- he's more impersonal but just as concise: "England, Your England" is a series of flicks of the knife directed at the British government. The acid bubbles:

And yet somehow the ruling class decayed, lost its ability, its daring, finally even its ruthlessness, until a time came when stuffed shirts like [Anthony] Eden or [Lord] Halifax could stand out as men of exceptional talent. As for [Stanley] Baldwin , one could not even dignify him with the name of stuffed shirt. He was simply a hole in the air.

Beneath it all is a visceral sadness for the suffering of mankind. Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War because he wanted to help people. In "Clink," he gets liquored up and tries to get arrested, so that he might document the viciousness of the police. (Perhaps to his dismay, they weren't all that vicious.) In "How The Poor Die," he recounts a few weeks he spent recuperating in a public hospital for the poor in France; the doctors hardly noticed that the sacks of flesh they were working on were human beings. In "Such, Such Were The Joys," we get a Roald Dahlish taste of the barbarity of British schools. Orwell sees great potential in the world, and much suffering; those further up in the hierarchy, whether deliberately or not (mostly deliberately) force those below them to suffer.

Facing Unpleasant Facts also contains some trifles not really connected to the collection's title. For instance, there's a little essay on how to make a proper English cup of tea. There are a few pages in defense of British food. There's a charming essay on the return of spring; I have to imagine that essay rescued a few London moods at the height of the Blitz. A man can't argue the virtues of socialism all the time. I think it's safe to say, though, that socialism is where Orwell's heart lay; the springtime merely paid the bills.

Facing Unpleasant Facts is a fun, quick read. Its staying power lies in understanding Orwell more than it lies in understanding Britain, or socialism, though it's valuable on those as well. It's most valuable to budding essayists, who want to study at the feet of a master. ... Read more

10. Homage to Catalonia
by George Orwell
Paperback: 232 Pages (1980-10-22)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156421178
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In 1936 Orwell went to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.
Amazon.com Review
"I wonder what is the appropriate first action when you comefrom a country at war and set foot on peaceful soil. Mine was to rushto the tobacco-kiosk and buy as many cigars and cigarettes as I couldstuff into my pockets." Most war correspondents observe wars and thentell stories about the battles, the soldiers and the civilians. GeorgeOrwell--novelist, journalist, sometime socialist--actually traded hispress pass for a uniform and fought against Franco's Fascists in theSpanish Civil War during 1936 and 1937. He put his politics and hisformidable conscience to the toughest tests during those days in thetrenches in the Catalan section of Spain. Then, after nearly gettingkilled, he went back to England and wrote a gripping account of hisexperiences, as well as a complex analysis of the politicalmachinations that led to the defeat of the socialist Republicans andthe victory of the Fascists. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (116)

1-0 out of 5 stars too many other good books to read...
There are great first hand war books out there. This isn't one of them.It is ok.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent historic book
As a studious of the XX century world story, I had appreciated a lot this book, as an instrument to deepen and to understand the events during the Spain war in 1936- 1937, when the communists, belonging to the international brigade sent by Stalin and coordinated by Togliatti, exterminated the spanish anarchists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing clarity to chaos
This small book was decades ahead of its time.The internecine warfare Orwell documents reads more like a description of the Vietnam War than the Second World War that followed.

What might have appeared to be a war of all against Franco and, more important, a war to stop what was perceived as a tidal wave of fascism engulfing Europe became, in fact, a political war of various coalitions against other coalitions, ultimately to the detriment of Orwell's own division.

Also, note how remarkably cautious Orwell is when describing events; how carefully he reminds readers of the limitations of his vantage point, of the fact that his experience may well be idiosyncratic --not representative of the totality of the complicated war he is documenting.When is the last time any you remember hearing a journalist express that level of humility?

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-read classic
1984 and Animal Farm are Orwell's best remembered indictments of Communist tyranny, but this is his best book. From stories of fighting in a quasi-Trotskyist platoon he offers some of the best insight and overview ever written about the Spanish Civil War--a fight that foreshadowed both World War II and the Cold War. He entered the fight to preserve the democratic Republic from Fascism and escaped with his life fleeing the wrath of Communists.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, insightful but not one of the best non-fiction books
An editor from Slate magazine stated that "Homage to Catalonia" was one of his top three non-fiction books.That's a strong claim, and also what motivated me to download this to the Kindle.

Orwell paints a vivid picture of the Spanish civil war prior to WWII.It is well written and a compelling read.Orwell travels from Britain to Spain and joins the Independent Labor Party and POUM [...] anti-fascist army in the fight against dictator Francisco Franco.His detailed descriptions of fighting on the front with ill-prepared comrades and antiquated weapons provide a palpable sense for trench warfare.

At a few points in the book, Orwell departs the narrative and provides deep political analysis of the interactions between the PSUC, PCE, POUM and the various societal components of Spain at the time (bourgeois, farmers, workers, the Basques, etc).For the detail-oriented buff of Spanish history, these would no doubt be valuable nuggets, but I admit that I found these sections pretty dry and that I longed for the return of the story line.Suffice it to say that the political and social landscape in Spain around 1936 was extremely complex on one hand, and yet simplistic with regard to the world view of the rise of fascism elsewhere.

Homage to Catalonia gave me perspective that I'd not had prior, and first-hand perspective regarding the views of Orwell himself.Recommended, but I'd fall shy of calling it one of the top non-fiction books.

-j ... Read more

11. Essays (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics)
by George Orwell
Hardcover: 1424 Pages (2002-10-15)
list price: US$37.50 -- used & new: US$22.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375415033
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A generous and varied selection—the only hardcover edition available—of the literary and political writings of one of the greatest essayists of the twentieth century.

Though best known as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell left an even more lastingly significant achievement in his voluminous essays, which dealt with all the great social, political, and literary questions of the day and exemplified an incisive prose style that is still universally admired. Included among the more than 240 essays in this volume are Orwell's famous discussion of pacifism, "My Country Right or Left," his scathingly complicated views on the dirty work of imperialism in "Shooting an Elephant," and his very firm opinion on how to make “A Nice Cup of Tea.” In his essays, Orwell elevated political writing to the level of art, and his motivating ideas—his desire for social justice, his belief in universal freedom and equality, and his concern for truth in language—are as enduringly relevant now, a hundred years after his birth, as ever. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars It's daunting in its size, but the content is terrific
I read and loved 1984 (Signet Classics) (Mass Market Paperback) and Animal Farm: Centennial Edition in high school, but I knew almost nothing more about their author until I found this Everyman's Library collection.I love the books in this collection, with the elegant covers and the little gold bookmarks and the low prices, so I picked out this book, more or less on a whim.I loved it.It's a hulking monster of a collection, with 1300+ pages of Orwell's observations during, just before, and just after WWII.Orwell's devotion to socialism in pervasive but practical, as he passes up few opportunities to dismiss either the movement's opponents or the more idealistic members of the movement itself (he has special revulsion toward pacifists, which makes sense when a reader considers his background in voluntary military service).

The content of these essays runs the gamut from a dogmatic piece about the right way to make tea, to some deeply insightful long essays about Dickens and Swift, to a very personal work about why he once shot an elephant, to some fascinating examinations of life in boarding schools for boys (both personal observations and analyses of the way these settings present themselves in the written work of others).As a reader in 2010, I was especially interested in the way that Orwell could rattle off long passages of poetry from memory, his encyclopedic grasp of every character ever sketched by Dickens, and his frequently stated presumption that the belief in an afterlife is completely dead (sometimes he seems to limit the view to educated persons, or Europeans, but basically he thinks that even those who profess to be Christians don't really believe in a heaven or hell, and he seems almost deliberately unaware of the potentially provocative nature of this view - I don't think a writer in the United States today could ever profess such a view in such a casual way, and I was intrigued every time it surfaced in Orwell's essays).

I don't recommend this whole collection to everyone - its massive size will put off anyone with just a casual interest in George Orwell - but there are some phenomenal essays in this book, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to slowly absorb the whole thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dense, Dated, But Wonderful
This volume of essays gave me fresh insight into Orwell's mind, politics and creativity. As with most people, I was only familiar with his novels. I had no idea that he had written so prodigiously on so many subjects over so many years. Many of the essays included are quite simply gems of the English language, while others are dry, arcane and almost unreadable. Many of the political essays and literary critiques are so badly out of date that a person of my age and education is quite simply lost. Most of the political issues he describes with such verge and rancor are now dead things. Many of the writers that so occupied his thoughts in the early 20th century are now complete unknowns. Has anyone ever heard of Jack Hilton, Alec Brown or Philip Henderson? I hadn't. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this volume is the unfolding of events as they occurred. Orwell had no idea what the ultimate outcome of WW2 would be. Or what world socialism as he knew it would become. Rereading these old newspaper or magazine articles gives a real sense of the uncertainty of the age.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential for the serious student of Orwell
This volume is a must-have for anyone seriously interested in understanding Orwell.The book is strewn with both classic and obscure essays from various publications.One of my favorites is titled simply "Clink," which is about his successful attempt to get arrested for public drunkenness.Readers can also gain a better understanding of his "libertarian-socialism" (if I may call it that for lack of a better word).Furthermore, this exhaustive compilation contains many of his thoughts on literature and the English language.But most importantly, this volume is an important historical text.The book gives readers a glimpse into his life and also that of his fellow Britons during the dark-days of the first half of the last century.

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell: 2010
En tiempos inciertos, como los que se viven hoy, producto de la debacle financiera y enlugares como América Latina, tan prolífica en excesos de todo tipo, hace realmente bien leer los ensayos de Orwell.
Recopilados en una excelente edición de Everyman, son un antídoto muy potente contra el mesianismo redentorista, los forcejeos jacobinos y la peregrina idea de algunos, de querer transformar al mundo según su voluntad.
Más que un escritor, Orwell es un humanista, que más que amor por una humanidad abstracta, trasluce una inmensa simpatía por el ser humano de carne y hueso.
Recomiendo este libro como un talismán imperecedero.

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell at his lucid best
Orwell was a stellar essayist. His collected essays are must reads as exemplars of clean, crisp prose, augmenting powerful arguments amidst the turbulent international circumstances of Orwell's life. As Timothy Garton Ash comments on the blurb of my edition, to understand the 20th Century, one must read Orwell. ... Read more

12. Burmese Days
by George Orwell
Hardcover: Pages (1974-06)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$23.95
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Asin: 0848806026
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, this book describes corruption and imperial bigotry. Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Dr Veraswami, a black enthusiast for the Empire, whose downfall can only be prevented by membership at an all-white club.Amazon.com Review
Imagine crossing E.M. Forster with Jane Austen. Stir in a bit of socialist doctrine, a sprig of satire, strong Indian curry, and a couple quarts of good English gin and you get something close to the flavor of GeorgeOrwell's intensely readable and deftly plotted Burmese Days. In1930, Kyauktada, Upper Burma, is one of the least auspicious postings inthe ailing British Empire--and then the order comes that the European Club,previously for whites only, must elect one token native member. This edict brings out the worst in this woefully enclosed society, not to mentionamong the natives who would become the One. Orwell mines his ownAnglo-Indian background to evoke both the suffocating heat and the stiflingpettiness that are the central facts of colonial life:"Mr. MacGregortold his anecdote about Prome, which could be produced in almost anycontext.And then the conversation veered back to the old, never-pallingsubject--the insolence of the natives, the supineness of the Government,the dear dead days when the British Raj was the Raj and please givethe bearer fifteen lashes.The topic was never let alone for long, partlybecause of Ellis's obsession.Besides, you could forgive the Europeans agreat deal of their bitterness.Living and working among Orientals wouldtry the temper of a saint."

Protagonist James Flory is a timber merchant, whose facial birthmark servesas an outward expression of the ironic and left-leaning habits of mind thatmake him inwardly different from his coevals. Flory appreciates the localculture, has native allegiances, and detests the racist machinations of hisfellow Club members. Alas, he doesn't always possess the moral courage, orthe energy, to stand against them. His almost embarrassingly Anglophilefriend, Dr. Veraswami, the highest-ranking native official, seems a shoo-infor Club membership, until Machiavellian magistrate U Po Kyin launches acampaign to discredit him that results, ultimately, in the loss not just ofreputations but of lives. Whether to endorse Veraswami or to betray himbecomes a kind of litmus test of Flory's character.

Against this backdrop of politics and ethics, Orwell throws the shadow ofromance. The arrival of the bobbed blonde, marriageable, and resolutelyanti-intellectual Elizabeth Lackersteen not only casts Flory as haplesssuitor but gives Orwell the chance to show that he's as astute a reporterof nuanced social interactions as he is of political intrigues. In fact,his combination of an astringently populist sensibility, dead-onobservations of human behavior, formidable conjuring skills, and no-frillsprose make for historical fiction that stands triumphantly outside oftime. --Joyce Thompson ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars A "good" book, but a depressing read
I struggled a bit to finish this book.It is not excessively long.And it is far from stupid.There is a sort of slowness about it, but it is not padded at all.

The insights on human nature (weakness of various sorts) were dead-on and the feeling for the culture and climate and mores of Burma showed how old time authors could be even more genuine than the modern school of research-oriented reality New Journalism types.I mean, Twain knew the Mississippi and it comes through without question.Similarly, Orwell knew the fauna, the subtle feelings of every type of weather and clothing and whore in Burma.But Twain had some fun in Tom Sawyer.Orwell does not give us that.

The lack of a stirring character made it hard to read...and the inevitable crushing of the lead anti-hero was painful to read as it approached.That said, the little vignettes were interesting.And there is a little flurry of action and hope towards the end.

Probably a book that every liberal should read to get a little more nuanced rationale for his philosophy and every conservative too, to be less knee-jerk.To be human is to struggle.Wish the book could have been a little more of an escape though...

5-0 out of 5 stars Spot on old chap
Orwell is like an under-appreciated one hit wonder, I guess he had two hits if you count 1984 and Animal Farm, but a reader loses so much if they stop there.Burmese days is an excellent piece of fiction, although semi autobiographical as he did live there for 5 years and his protagonist eludes to Orwell's short story about killing an elephant.If you haven't read Killing an Elephant please stop reading this review and do a Google search for it, you'll be glad you did.I love the book for the picture it paints of life in Burma at the beginning of the 20th century.Its got a dramatic feel akin to a Jane Austin and a sociological feel akin to a John Steinbeck.Also its in the public domain in Australia so the price is right.

4-0 out of 5 stars a lesser-known Orwell work
I, like many readers, first knew about George Orwell from his most famous novel, "1984", also reading "Animal Farm"
in high school.This novel was written before these, and is said to be a reflection of his service in the Indian colonial police.The main character John Flory reminds me of "1984"s Winston Smith, a man who is unsure of his place in society, and doubts the value and credibility of his profession.His "friends" prove to be uncaring, yet he has many flaws himself, that lead to two failed relationships with two very different women.I feel that this book has an anti-imperialst tone to it, and the ending was a bit surprising, if depressing.Definitely worth a read, as Orwell makes it easily accessible and reasonably interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Your Ordinary Travel Book or Literary Masterpiece
There is something to be said for journalists who write novels, and although he was never on the payroll of The Daily Mail or The Guardian, George Orwell, the author of Burmese Days, was at bottom a journalist.Like Tom Wolfe, for example, Orwell creates fictional characters who are too riddled with insecurities, too motivated by class pretentions, too comical in their relationships with the world to serve to explicate matters of the heart, soul, and other conventions of literary fiction.As a result Orwell does not so much get into his characters as expose them for the weak, banal, conniving, self-deluded, semi-aware creatures that they are -- creatures of their times, never to be envied.

The times, in the case of Burmese Days, are the late-1920's, near the end of the British Raj in Upper Burma, then a backwater of the Empire inhabited by teak exploiters, Christian missionaries, and other expats imposing themselves uneasily -- economically, militarily, sexually -- on the local underclass.When they are not working, the Brits in Burmese Days, like their contemporaries in East Africa, pass their days drinking, gossiping, whoring, shooting, and encapsulating themselves in a club for foreigners.Into this mix comes Elizabeth Lackersteen, a fresh-faced young English girl of 20, recently orphaned, whose only real chance in life is to find a husband.Now.Pursuing her are James Flory, a lumber mill manager more than twice her age who has spent 15 desolate years in the provinces; a certain Verrall, a smooth dancing officer in the Military Police, in town on special assignment, who despises people but loves polo ponies; and Elizabeth's own libidinous drunk uncle, each for his respective end.Meanwhile a good-hearted Indian physician is opposed by a conniving Burmese politician and judge for the sole ceremonial local membership in the club for foreigners.

These two slender plots cross against a backdrop of lush descriptions of Burmese society, customs, architecture, and the greater outdoors.The plots lead eventually to an ending and forward-flashing epigraph, the thrust of which is that people get what they deserve.There is not much new there.It is the backdrop -- the travel writing, if you will -- that sticks with the reader.Orwell writes with a naturalist's disposition.

Here he is describing a hunt: "They set out.The side of the village away from the creek was protected by a hedge of cactus six feet high and twelve thick.One went up a narrow lane of cactus, then along a rutted, dusty bullock-cart track, with bamboos as tall as flagstaffs growing densely on either side.The beaters marched rapidly ahead in single file, each with his broad dah laid along his forearm.The old hunter was marching just in front of Elizabeth.His longyi was hitched up like a loincloth, and his meagre thighs were tattooed with dark blue patterns, so intricate that he might have been wearing drawers of blue lace.A bamboo the thickness of a man's wrist had fallen and hung across the path.The leading beater severed it with an upward flick of his dah; the prisoned water gushed out of it with a diamond-flash.After half a mile they reached the open fields, and everyone was sweating, for they had walked fast and the sun was savage."

In 2002 a Time writer went back to Upper Burma to look for the remains of Orwell's world and found it.That is an interesting enough travelogue in itself.But read the original first.It is a good read.

3-0 out of 5 stars On the old side.
Although pretty aged- it showed up in great condition for being a 196-- something book! The cover was a little cracked but that was about it! ... Read more

13. George Orwell: Animal Farm, Burmese Days, A Clergyman's Daughter, Coming Up for Air, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Nineteen Eighty-Four: Complete & Unabridged
by George Orwell
 Hardcover: 925 Pages (1980-06)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$125.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0905712048
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Animal Farm; Burmese Days; A Clergyman's Daughter; Comingup for Air; Keep the Aspidistra Flying; Nineteen Eighty-Four ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but NOT every word Orwell wrote
It only contains what the description says it contains: "Animal Farm", "Burmese Days", "A Clergyman's Daughter", "Coming up for Air", "Keep the Aspidistra Flying", and "1984". These particular writings are complete and unabridged, but these are not the complete writings of Orwell.

Of course they're good, but the title is very misleading. Don't be fooled into thinking it's everything he wrote.

Followup 4 years later: I see Amazon changed the product title, and now it is not misleading. When I ordered this in 2004, the title was listed as George Orwell, Complete and Unabridged. ... Read more

14. Coming Up for Air (Harvest Book)
by George Orwell
Paperback: 288 Pages (1969-10-22)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156196255
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.
Amazon.com Review
Insurance salesman George "Fatty" Bowling lives with his humorless wife andtheir two irritating children in a dull house in a tract development in thehistoryless London suburb of West Bletchley. The year is 1938; doomsayersare declaring that England will be at war again by 1941.

When George bets on an unlikely horse and wins, he finds himself with alittle extra cash on his hands. What should he spend it on? "Thealternatives, it seemed to me, were either a week-end with a woman ordribbling it quietly away on odds and ends such as cigars and doublewhiskeys." But a chance encounter with a poster in Charing Cross sets himoff on a tremendous journey into his own memories--memories, especially, ofa boyhood spent in Lower Binfield, the country village where he grew up.His recollections are pungent and detailed. Touch by touch, he paints forus a whole world that is already nearly lost: a world not yet ruled by thefear of war and not yet blighted by war's aftermath:

1913! My God! 1913! The stillness, the green water, the rushing of theweir! It'll never come again. I don't mean that 1913 will never come again.I mean the feeling inside you, the feeling of not being in a hurry and notbeing frightened, the feeling you've either had and don't need to be toldabout, or haven't had and won't ever have the chance to learn.
Alas, George finds that even Lower Binfield has been darkened by thebomber's shadow.

Readers of1984 will recognize Orwell's desperateinsistence on the importance of the individual, of memory, of history, andof language; and they will find in Fatty Bowling one of Orwell's mostengaging creations--a warm, witty, thinking, remembering Everyman in aworld that is fast learning not to think and not to remember, and thusswiftly losing its mind. --Daniel Hintzsche ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Coming Up for Air is a George Orwell novel whose subject is middle aged angst and the loss of individualism in a modern society
George Orwell (1903-50) won fame with his two dystopic novels "Animal Farm" and "1984". Yet this Indian born Englishman has much else to share with interested readers. One of his lesser known novels is "Coming Up for Air."
The novel is set in 1938 when Great Britain was on the brink of war. The antihero is George "Tubby" Bowling. George is 45 years old; works as a traveling insurance salesman and is married to Hilda. The couple have two children. George is a native of the small village of Little Binfield located on the Thames River. He is bored with his life dealing with a cold, shrewish wife, low income and the prospect of coming war. George is the typical English middle class man!
George longs to return to the quiet years of life in his village prior to World War I. Many pages are devoted to his childhood fishing and rambling on expeditions with his older brother and friends. George reveals to us his first love and the loss of innocence he experienced as a wounded soldier on the World War I front in France. On the day he receives his new dentures he decides to revisit his old haunts in Little Binfield. He does so and is dismayed at how the village has grown and how little he is remembered. A training mission plane drops a bomb on the town as a foreshadowing of the horrible war to come. George returns home to Hilda and the children.
The story is beautifully told with exquisite scenic details of country life in England. George is the narrator and we are caught up in an ordinary story told by an ordinary bloke.
George Orwell was a fine novelist in addition to being a crackerjack reporter and essayist. This novel is a minor gem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, uneven simplicity.
A minor miracle in places.In others, Orwell's narrator is amazingly prescient on economic facts and class status for a contemporary reader.However, the book is uneven and some of the protagonist's/narrators actions are unbelievable.Overall, this book is uneven, but even Orwell's unevenness is quality enough to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insight into Orwell himself
In the context of 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty Four', it's almost impossible to approach 'Coming Up For Air' from anything other than a political viewpoint. Since the mid 30's, Orwell had regarded war with Hitler as inevitable. He was also highly disenchanted with the capitalist Britain of the day, and like a true Socialist he anticipated that the coming war would bring massive social reorganisation, for better or worse. So 'Coming Up For Air' is the calm before the storm. It is Orwell (through the narrator) taking a last longing look at the Britain of his childhood, a world that was already vanishing in 1939, and was soon expected to be gone for good.

At its heart, 'Coming Up For Air' is a part-autobiography, part-reflection of the book's narrator, George Bowling. In some ways, Bowling is the exact opposite of Gordon Comstock from Orwell's previous book 'Keep The Aspidistra Flying'; Bowling has surrendered to the Money God and lives a boring and predictable middle-class existence. A chance encounter leads Bowling to reminisce in detail about his childhood, longing to return to a time he regards as simpler and more peaceful. Eventually, he attempts to reconnect with his past by returning home, only to find that everything has changed. The overwhelming impression is that there's no place for whimsical nostalgia in the modern world. Or maybe this childhood world wasn't really as idyllic as Bowling likes to remember?

The book is more light-hearted than some of Orwell's novels, and the political themes are nowhere near as prominent as his later works. However, the social commentary does provide some context for Bowling's thoughts and actions; rather than just hankering for the "Good Old Days", the book implies that Bowling's childhood really was the Good Old Days compared to the war-torn, frenetic 1930's. And while the book is very much of its time, its message is just as relevant 70 years later. Every generation believes life was simpler, smarter and more compassionaite in the days of their childhood; today's elderly probably dream of a time when they'd never heard of terrorism, new technologies, climate change, or globalisation. Above all, the book is a fascinating insight into the two halves of Orwell himself. He was a firm believer in Socialism, but he was also very English. So while he always worked toward social change and progress, I think part of him was dismayed to see the England of old slowly disappear.

While not as strong or political as Orwell's two classic works, in its own way 'Coming Up For Air' is just as relevant. I definitely recommend that Orwell fans seek this one out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent service
The book was shipped immediately and arrived in the condition that was advertised on amazon.com. I would definitely buy from this seller again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Angst Aspects.
This is a book about angst.

Societal angst at the ominous clouds of an approaching war and the personal angst of a pointless lifetime slipping away into an irrelevant old age.

George Bowling is a moderately successful insurance "tout"... I love the dated English slang in these books..."tout" means salesman. Bowling's thought life is far away from his boring middle class existence in pre-war England. George lives in the Edwardian England of his childhood. A world lost to a modern age of faux tudor building projects...urban sprawl.

One day on a pretext, he leaves his home for a dream-like journey to his childhood village only to find the shadows of the world that once was. Shadows erased by an accidential bombing by the RAF during a practice flight which abruptly ends the trip and wakes Bowling from his dream.

George is searching for a secret place...a symbol of the untamed...a long overlooked drainage pond teeming with large carp which only he seems to know about. While stationed in France during The First World War he finds another pond in a village abandoned by war and struggles with a comrade to quickly make fishing eqipment only to find out that his unit must move out on short notice. The dream of fishing as a symbol of freedom must be forgoed until later. "Later" comes with the rude realization that a subdivision has been built over the first pond and his dream has been paved over by the modern age.

The profane present obliterates the sacred past throughout the book.

George travels to the church where much of his childhood was spent, remembers the psalm readings, and notes that the headstones in the churchyard mimic the relationships in the congregation. One of the paradoxes of Orwell was that his secularism seemed to lament the memory of a lost faith. It seems that the "socialist who hated socialism" was also the secularist who was uncomfortable with secularism.The Pilgrim's Progress

The book has the strengths and weaknesses of Orwell's other early novels...the backgrounds are convincing, yet the characters exist in a kind of two dimensional Edward Hopper world...shadow figures on a interesting bleak background. This novel is the last written just before WW2; It is worth reading for its time capsule quality. Orwell's true gift was as a journalist, not a novelist, his novels have a descriptive news-like quality that make them interesting time capsules... waiting to be opened and pondered. ... Read more

15. George Orwell's 1984 (Max Notes)
by Karen Brodeur, George Orwell
Paperback: 120 Pages (1995-06-12)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$1.35
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Asin: 0878919961
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature,presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literaryexperts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance yourunderstanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed tostimulate independent thought about the literary work by raisingvarious issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotescover the essentials of what one should know about each work,including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation anddiscussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations toconvey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Eachchapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has studyquestions and answers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Beware reviews.
After reading the reviews I felt assured this was actually just a copy of 1984. Upon receiving the book today though, I was bewildered to find that it was more of a cheat-guide to the novel and not the novel itself. I'm not looking to write an essay, I just wanted to read 1984 again.. So this book serves no purpose for me.

3-0 out of 5 stars a look at present reality
I must first of all say that i see Gordon Brown as a modern day Winston Churchill. there is thought control, mind reading etc etc etc, we all know this. the double speak on television etc etc etc. dumbing down, we all know this, but for a while perhaps these things are necessary. the crematoria in london have been working over time these last few weeks. but its not without that affects the quality of life, its whats within.

direct confrontation is not the answer. diplomacy is needed. the police and military should be peaceful and diplomatic, they shoul send women pcs to demonstrations, without any form of armour, or weaponry. diplomacy is needed from all sides. as Brown has mentioned, a new order is arising. lets wait and see if it is any better. try not to use violence, shame and sacrifice in the model of the early christians is needed, prayer and love, with much subtlety and legal guarantees. realize that many a promise has been broken in the past.

with very much love, from snow-flake, may the almighty God bless you all. by me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
1984 is a really horrifying book, but only if you know the principles ofgovernment. It's rather like Animal Farm in that respect. I read the bookover and over, never getting tired of it, especially the near-ending. Partsof it are confusing: like, is O'Brien a good guy or a bad guy or what?The ending I found disappointing, but it would have been unrealistic forWinston and Julia to come out on top. I guess 1984 is supposed to show theharshness of totalitarianism and the fruitlessness of fighting againstthem. Overall, a good book, but not for the young or sensitive. ... Read more

16. Why I Write (Penguin Great Ideas)
by George Orwell
Paperback: 128 Pages (2005-09-06)
list price: US$10.00 -- used & new: US$4.92
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Asin: 0143036351
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Table of Contents:


a selection from WHY I WRITE:

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.

I was the middle child of three, but there was a gap of five years on either side, and I barely saw my father before I was eight. For this and other reasons I was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my schooldays. I had the lonely child-s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons, and I think from the very start my literary ambitions were mixed up with the feeling of being isolated and undervalued. I knew that I had a facility with words and a power of facing unpleasant facts, and I felt that this created a sort of private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life. Nevertheless the volume of serious-i.e. seriously intended-writing which I produced all through my childhood and boyhood would not amount to half a dozen pages. I wrote my first poem at the age of four or five, my mother taking it down to dictation. I cannot remember anything about it except that it was about a tiger and the tiger had -chair-like teeth--a good enough phrase, but I fancy the poem was a plagiarism of Blake-s -Tiger, Tiger-. At eleven, when the war or 1914-18 broke out, I wrote a patriotic poem which was printed in the local newspaper, as was another, two years later, on the death of Kitchener. From time to time, when I was a bit older, I wrote bad and usually unfinished -nature poems- in the Georgian style. I also attempted a short story which was a ghastly failure. That was the total of the would-be serious work that I actually set down on paper during all those years.

However, throughout this time I did in a sense engage in literary activities. To begin with there was the made-to-order stuff which I produced quickly, easily and without much pleasure to myself. Apart from school work, I wrote VERS D-OCCASION, semi-comic poems which I could turn out at what now seems to me astonishing speed-at fourteen I wrote a whole rhyming play, in imitation of Aristophanes, in about a week-and helped to edit a school magazines, both printed and in manuscript....

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Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A genuine account of the writer's motives
This review is based on the first of the four essays that are included in the book. In the essay "Why I Write", Orwell describes the factors that led him to be a writer.

He portrays him self as a lonely child who found comfort in writing poems and short stories. His personality was not, however, the most significant factor that made him a serious writer; it was the time into which he was born. The political turmoils of the 1930s made Orwell ideologically ambitious and created the political motivation to write. The Spanish civil war and Hitler's ascension led Orwell to the conclusion that totalitarianism was the greatest threat to humanity and that socialist Democracy was the political counterforce. Orwell's mission as a writer was to fight against the former and promote the latter.

The essay "Why I Write" is an account of the role of ideology in a writer's work. Orwell concludes that without the political motivation his prose and writings would have been "sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally".

For the writers of today, this essay stands as a remnant of the time where the world politics seemed bipolar and it was easy to choose a side. Orwell chose the anti totalitarian side. From there he found the purpose and vocation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fab Four
This little book contains three fabulous essays and a story by the greatest essayist of the last century. The title WHY I WRITE is also the title of the first essay. These essays represent types as well as specific writings- types that can be found in other essay collections. This little book reveals Orwell's lost legacy as an essayist and journalist which has been overshadowed by his novels.

WHY I WRITE.Why did Orwell occupy his life with writing? His early childhood was punctuated with poetry from the age of four and ended with high school editing. I have tried to find these early writings but,alas,have failed to find anything from earlier than 1920...seventeen in Orwell years. Orwell gives us insights into the reasons he writes: his ego, historical documentation, political influence (unavoidable for the citizens of the Twentieth Century according to Orwell), and ascetic impulse. Orwell, in a letter, once described himself as a "half intellectual" who avoided abstraction; here he tells us that he is concerned only with material things and "the surface of the earth." p.9.

The earthiness of Orwell's writing lead to a humble, direct style of writing that is exemplified in his essays on society. ENGLAND YOUR ENGLAND closely resembles another essay not in this book: My COUNTRY RIGHT OR LEFT.

ENGLAND YOUR ENGLAND discusses the changes and characteristics of England at war. The crumbling British Empire with its useless class peerage system is seen as doomed not only by a possible NAZI victory but the technocracy creatd by a large, growing middle class. England is seen as incipient revolutionary society with an expected upheaval in "six months to a year" from 1940- which could not be stopped unless England was invaded. In MY COUNTRY... the revolution was also incipient but would be marked by "Red militias at the Ritz" and "bloody London gutters." One revolution by the supplanting of the peerage class and yet the other as an old style proletarian uprising. The Labor Party gets short mention as being pro-capitalist since it depends on rising wages to placate union members who support the party.

The reality was the election of Winston Churchill and the Tories during the War, the post war victory ofAttlee's Labor Party and the creation of the welfare state by the same middle class Orwell mentions in this essay...hardly a revolution.

A HANGING. The closest Orwell gets to Camus' THE STRANGER. A policeman observes the execution of a Burmese Hindu who dies for unknown reasons. The doomed man politely avoids a puddle before he hangs and a lone dog seems prescient about the coming death. The brutal administration of Burma was no resort hotel job...did Orwell know more about the execution than he writes about?

POLITICS AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE- a typical Orwell language essay. Often quoted in relation to totalitarianism. Orwell tells us that language molds thought and that " changing language will change the political climate". We are introduced to examples of bad writing and given specific rules for avoiding wasted thought "the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness."Eliminating useless metaphors, operators, pretentious diction and meaningless words will change the thought life of politics and avoid the Newspeak of Big Brother.

One wonders what the prolife Orwell would have said about the political cant on the abortion issue? Would he fairly call both sides prolife or prochoice? Would he detect the media bias of only using "antiabortion" to describe prolifers while calling the other side prochoice?

Would Orwell see the internet as a manifestation of Big Brother? Interesting questions.

The essays are good and the book is worth a good commute reading. These are light and nimble essays-well written, but in the case of the social essays, not very deep. The "half intellectual" had a gift of clarity which has weathered the decades since the mid-Twentieth Century, yet his heart belonged to another time.

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls, and woke to find it true;

I wasn't born for an age like this; was Smith? was Jones? Were you?

Poem from "Why I Write" by George Orwell, 1946

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell's unique talent as a writer
In the book, George Orwell, one of the most talented and gifted writers in the English world, depicts in a frank manner about his literary writing motives and how he reconciles aesthetic enthusiasm with his political purpose.

The book consists of 4 key chapters. Chapter 1 is a full introduction of his literary journey from childhood to adulthood. Orwell maintains that a writer's real experience in life can substantially determine his/her impulse to write (P.4). The four key motives in literary writing including sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose exist in different degree in different writers, depending very much on the atmosphere he/she is living. To Orwell, the key motive to write is that he intends to tell devastating truths about non-individual and public activities with his literary writing skills without humbug, purple passages, meaningless sentences, and decorative adjectives (P.10).

Chapter 2 is about English politics during the Second World War. As a key champion of democratic Socialism, Orwell criticized decadent hypocritical and privileged high class who dominated every aspect of political and economic life in England but they failed to resist any serious war attack by Fascism (P.35). He maintained that England should undertake a wholehearted political change (P.48) if people intended not to be conquered by Hitler. Democratic Socialism could centralize all goods of production for armament purpose and unite people from top to bottom due to approximate equal distribution of income (Pp.74-76).

Chapter 3 was a hanging case in Burma. Orwell uses his literary writing skills to narrate the hanging process of a Hindu condemned prisoner. This unhappy narration is full of detailed descriptions and arresting scenario, and also full of purple passages in which Orwell's literary writing skills are demonstrated. From the condemned cell where the hanged Hindu squatted at to the gallows where the prisoner's neck was hanged for execution, Orwell looked at this sudden life and death process with great unhappiness but smiles. Chapter 4 is a critique of the decadent English language. Orwell maintains that a good piece of political writing should avoid having difficult and useless phrases and jargons (P.120) and it should be clear and meaning and short in words (P.119). In this chapter, Orwell illustrates how academicians and political writers use operators, pretension diction, dying metaphors, and meaningless words (Pp.106-109) to make their works to be a sheer humbug.

Writing can be a very exhaustive and horrible struggle, particularly for those who aspire to write a book. This book is highly recommended to readers who intend to think hard about how to write.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not all the essays listed on the product page
This is a great little volume of three of Orwell's essays (aka Eric Blair essays).Unfortunately the product description page give the impression that more than three essays are included.

2-0 out of 5 stars Why I England
Don't be fooled by the title. _Why I Write_ is not a discussion on how Orwell writes, when he started writing, what young writers should know about writing, what veterans should do about their own writing, etc. You'll get a five-page blurb in the beginning about how he was compelled to write and about how he tried to shy away from his dream, and then you get a seven-page blurb at the end about what not to do when you write (e.g., don't use cliches, don't use more words than necessary, don't use a long word when a short word will do, etc.). The rest of it is a discussion about England, Germany, and the history of the times.

Don't get me wrong, the history is interesting, learning about countries and their characteristics and Orwell's thoughts on politics at the time. We learn about British habits and how the meaning of the word "Fascism" has changed from what it originally meant. But we don't learn anything about what we thought the book would be about: Writing.

Flip past page 11 to find out whether or not to buy this book. If you don't like that stuff, just read the beginning and the end. Save yourself the money. And if you're looking for a book that's actually about creative writing, go for King's _On Writing_ or Bradbury's _Zen in the Art of Writing_. ... Read more

17. George Orwell
by Gordon Bowker
Paperback: 495 Pages (2004-04-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.98
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Asin: 0349115516
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Few writers can boast the brilliant legacy of George Orwell, both in his contributions to the English language—Big Brother, Newspeak, Doublethink—and his profound influence on world literature. In George Orwell, Gordon Bowker gives us the man behind the words: his early childhood and schooling at Eton; his deliberate plunge into poverty; his experiences in the Spanish Civil War; his complex, sometimes reckless sex life; and the extraordinary success of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Meticulously researched, this is the most fully realized account yet of this pivotal literary figure. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars orwell too full of conjecture
This huge book/cd series has way too much conjecture about why Orwell was the way he was.Seems like an Intellectual trying to tease out controversy and new 'info' about this very interesting author.Perhaps it was the British hi-brow style that turned me off about this book but I just thought it went on and on and grasped at straws.Like I say might just be me but I give it a thumbs down.It became background noise so to speak.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enthralling and readable
Bowker is obviously a fan of Orwell's economy of expression and lucid style, as his prose is straight-forward and very readable. This biography is interesting and informative, and reads like a novel not a thesis. Orwell is a very interesting character and perhaps should be credited with having lead an interesting life as much as his biographer is lauded for describing it.

The only criticism I would have of this excellent treatment, would be Bowker's over-reaching attempt to flesh out his theory of repressed homo-erotic inclinations. This suggestion would seem to be based on some very flimsy hearsay evidence.

I highly recommend this to anyone interested in one of the 20th century's greatest social commentators.

5-0 out of 5 stars Orwell
Outstanding writing and research. By the time you finish the book you probably know Orwell better than his friends, his women andhimself. It drags a bit in the middle but it lead me to re-read Down and Out and to order most of his publications.

4-0 out of 5 stars Seems to be a fine biography
The only other biography of Orwell that I have read is the two-volume Stansky-Abrahams one, which I read when it appeared over 25 years ago.Of course, one gets to know Orwell pretty well if one reads Orwell's own essays, etc.This seems to be a very good biography, though.I particularly want to commend Bowker for writing at this length, rather than writing something twice or thrice the size.Furthermore, there's a sense that the story has been well told, the people and events adequately identified, etc.One feels human interest not only in Orwell but in others, such as his two wives.

Bowker thanks his copy editor by name, and perhaps that person is not to be blamed for a few errors of grammar and spelling (e.g. the same person is both Frances and Francis) that appear. ... Read more

18. 1984 (Signet Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
by George Orwell (Author) Erich Fromm (Afterword)
Unknown Binding: Pages (1961)
-- used & new: US$9.05
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Asin: B003G4ILH6
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19. The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell (An Age Like This, My Country Right Or Left; As I Please; In Front of Your Nose) [4 Volumes]
by George; Orwell, Sonia (editor); Angus, Ian (editor) Orwell
 Hardcover: Pages (1969)

Asin: B000OFMTDM
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20. Burmese Days, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Coming Up for Air
by George Orwell
Hardcover: 712 Pages (2011-04-05)
list price: US$28.00 -- used & new: US$18.48
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Asin: 0307595048
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Product Description
For the first time in one hardcover volume—three classic novels by the author of Nineteen Eighty- Four and Animal Farm.

The lushly descriptive and tragic Burmese Days, a devastating indictment of British colonial rule, is based on Orwell’s own experience while serving in the Indian Imperial Police. His beloved satirical classic, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, features a young idealist whose attempt to rebel against middle-class respectability—by working in a bookshop and trying to be a writer—goes terribly and comically awry. The hero of Coming Up for Air tries to escape the bleakness of suburbia by returning to the idyllic rural village of his childhood—only to find that the simpler England he remembers so nostalgically is gone forever.

These three novels share Orwell’s unsparing vision of the dark side of modern capitalist society in combination with his comic brilliance and his unerring compassion for humanity. ... Read more

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