Homage to Catalonia

Paperback, 272 pages

English language

Published Jan. 1, 1938 by Penguin.

ISBN:
9780141183053
OCLC Number:
570959

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (30 reviews)

'Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it'. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies.

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His …

65 editions

notes on 'Homage to Catalonia'

5 stars

stunning writing that gives a feeling of both trench warfare and street conflict

the book captures the joys of liberation - and how easily they can be lost

it's fascinating to see how some of Orwell's experiences and observations here come up again in '1984': a fear of rats, poor-quality tobacco falling out of cigarettes, newspapers rewriting history, worries of being informed on, and the horrors of being confined as a political prisoner

Orwell's personal bravery and dedication to goodness are also evident from this book

Review of 'Homage to Catalonia' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

War is ugly, really, truly ugly. No amount of glory, no matter a cause, not even a victory can ever make war a thing of beauty! We can play with aesthetics, fancy uniforms and mean-looking guns, yet all war is... In the end, war is just pain. Suffering distilled to its purest of forms. This book is quite an authentically miserable depiction of that. And to remember that this was left on left violence. To think that fascists have won. To realize that throughout history, the failure of leftist politics can be hardly blamed on anyone else but leftists themselves. Hopeless.

"I have no particular love for the idealised 'worker' as he appears in the bourgeois Communist's mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on."

Underrated book

5 stars

Deserves to be up there with Animal Farm and 1984, which seem much more popular in the public mind. The nonfictional context for why the author felt motivated to write those two other books. It seems like there has been a long pro-war vein among conservatives, and plenty of antiwar books on the left; I have read and enjoyed examples from both, but Orwell is one of the people who is both leftwing and happy to endorse violence. Very different feeling in this book than in, for example, many of Kurt Vonnegut's stories. I don't mean to take a position here since I haven't fought in such a war, but it is definitely interesting to see two authors discuss a similar time frame (midcentury antifascist violence) with very different points of view, while still being broadly on the same side of the political spectrum. Favorite anecdote from the book: Orwell …

Review of 'Homage to Catalonia' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Perhaps I was expecting too much from this book. I had heard high praises of it. Maybe I wanted it to unveil some sort of Anarchist Utopia that secretly thrived in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.
It didn't. Much the opposite perhaps, it reveals the tediousness and futility of war. Orwell's personal (very personal, one might say) account of his participation in the war against Franco's Fascism reads like a personal diary. It's view is limited, personal and or course, biased. He wanted to defeat Fascism and showed up to war. He found the pettiness and poverty of the frontline, the endless waits and the uncomfortable conditions. He does a great job of highlighting how comraderie and spirit were kept in a non-hierarchical army of anarchist or sometimes communist soldiers.
Yet the politics themselves are complicated, the power struggles are intrincate and full of betrayal and lies. The whole …

Review of 'Homage to Catalonia' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

I really enjoyed reading this for several reasons. Firstly, I've read Orwell's fiction, and it's always interesting to read personal accounts of a fiction writer with whom I'm familiar (especially when they recount such a dramatic time period for the writer and the world). Secondly, I am a radical anti-authoritarian who identifies primarily as an anarcho-syndicalist. Orwell's politics are more or less in line with mine, and it was, frankly, thrilling to hear about revolutionary Spain, the abolishment of "usted" and "señor" in favor of "tú" and "comrade"/"comarada", the equalized pay of non-hierarchical anarchist militia columns, etc. It was also infuriating to read about the involvement of Soviet Russia in opportunistically establishing the International Communist Party as the primary non-fascist force which, ironically, suppressed and jailed anarchists and radical socialists after coming to power in the Republican-held strongholds. While Orwell's commentary on the impartiality of the press outside Spain (writing, …

Review of 'Homage to Catalonia' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

This is a very powerful book. It's a first-hand account of how Orwell found himself volunteering for an anti-Fascist brigade, and how utterly disillusioning the whole experience was, as the fractious anti-Fascists wasted enormous amounts of energy fighting each other instead of the real enemy. There are relevant lessons for any political campaign today (certainly I see the same tendencies in the environmental movement), and it also does a lot to illuminate where he was coming from with Animal Farm and 1984. Having studied these at school I was left under the impression that Orwell was a rather pro-establishment writer, but reading his non-fiction makes it clear that he was a strong ideological Socialist, and his critiques of Stalinism have all the bitterness of someone seeing his own ideals betrayed.

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Subjects

  • Spain
  • Orwell, George, 1903-1950
  • Politics and government
  • Spain -- Catalonia
  • Travel
  • Authors, English
  • Soldiers
  • Communism

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