Read Homage to Catalonia and Looking Back on the Spanish War by George Orwell Free Online
Book Title: Homage to Catalonia and Looking Back on the Spanish War|
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Reader ratings: 4.3
The author of the book: George Orwell
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: October 1969
ISBN 13: 9780140016994
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 450 KB
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This book is justly famous for its disillusioned account of how the Communist Party—in its eagerness to defeat Franco--betrayed the successful anarchist experiment in Catalonia for the sake of expedience, how it executed and imprisoned its anarchist and socialist comrades for the sake of a temporary alliance with the bourgeois.
I found all this very interesting, but have to admit that the real reason I liked the book so much was for its gritty account of war on the cheap, where guns are poor, marksmanship is worse, and the lack of food, matches and candles is more important than any threat by the enemy. In spite of the generally poor marksmanship, however, Orwell did manage to get himself shot in the neck, and his first-hand account of what it is like to be wounded is vivid and completely absorbing.
The only thing that keeps this book from being superb is its detailed discussion of each of the various left-wing parties and their responsibility—or lack of responsibility--for the internecine battles on the streets of Barcelona that contributed to the subsequent purges, arrests, and imprisonments. Orwell clearly realizes that this account may be a problem for his narrative, for he apologizes for its length, arguing that previous accounts in the international press have been so deceptive that it has become necessary to set the record straight. Now, however, more than seventy-five years later, such a precise accounting is indeed unnecessary--at least for the general reader--and Orwell's book suffers as a result.
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Read information about the authorEric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.
In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a police officer with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927 and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1937. Orwell was severely wounded when he was shot through his throat. Later the organization that he had joined when he joined the Republican cause, The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), was painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organization (Trotsky was Joseph Stalin's enemy) and disbanded. Orwell and his wife were accused of "rabid Trotskyism" and tried in absentia in Barcelona, along with other leaders of the POUM, in 1938. However by then they had escaped from Spain and returned to England.
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. He was a prolific polemical journalist, article writer, literary critic, reviewer, poet and writer of fiction, and, considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture.
Orwell is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945) — they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book Homage to Catalonia, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.
Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term "Orwellian" — now a byword for any oppressive or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society — have entered the vernacular.