Homage to Catalonia

Paperback, 272 pages

English language

Published Jan. 14, 2000 by Penguin.

ISBN:
9780141183053

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (15 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 …

63 editions

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'

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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