Why Orwell Matters (2002)
Why Orwell Matters (2002)
3.91 of 5 Votes: 2
1567319386 (ISBN13: 9781567319385)
MJF Books
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Why Orwell Matters is a trying read, at least for me. Christopher Hitchens does what Hitchens does best - assumes the reader is just as educated and learned as he, with very little stopping to explain this or that detail. But I suppose if he did, this volume would have to have been several hundred pages and be more of a biography than why Orwell's work still matters. Having a good grasp of the first fifty-years of the Twentieth Century would benefit the reader greatly here. Knowing times, places, events and people who were movers and shakers while Orwell lived would assist in understanding everything Hitch throws out in this volume. Why Orwell Matters is hardly a primer in Orwell. It's more of a study to be taken after you are familiar with the era of WWII, Bolshevism, Trotsky, and other events and persons who were influences in the world at large. Hitch's contribution to Orwell is to show why his work remains important and how it was taken during his life, even if sometimes pages go by and I wasn't sure what was being said because of what seemed like a ride on a tangent. In the end, Why Orwell Matters delivers but probably could have been an even smaller read if Hitch didn't do what Hitch does best. If I were an English teacher I'd make "Politics and the English Language" required reading. It's all one can do to keep the culture from dumbing down the bright minds among the young- it's so much worse when politicians take a leading role in doing so. Hitchens hits hard where George is no longer able, by virtue of his discorporation. But were he around today I am certain he would have absolutely scathing words for the leaders of what used to proudly (and doubtlessly) be called "the Free World." There's really no such thing anymore, I am sure he'd perhaps agree. And even with Hitchens not being around, he has left this book behind like a well-calculated timed IED, to strike fear into the hearts of totalitarians everywhere. As well it should. Excellent criticism here of both the left and right, and lord knows they both deserve heaps of it.
Great book. Requires a fairly good understanding of Orwell, Burma and the Spanish Civil War.
Interesting but SO difficult to read-that probably says more about me than the book
Part of my "Books Read" list I found while moving/unpacking.
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