الطريق إلى رصيف ويغان
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الطريق إلى رصيف ويغان

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  5,163 ratings  ·  285 reviews
Although George Orwell grew up in the relative comfort of the English middle class, his socialist convictions and general sense of fairness led him to hate his country's deeply ingrained class structure. That perspective permeates this book, but the most striking elements are the quotidian details of life that Orwell observes in his first-person account of the lives of coa...more
262 pages
Published 2010 by دار نينوى (first published 1937)
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Riku Sayuj

The Road to Wigan Pier & 1984: A Parallel Analysis

Commissioned fortuitously in the period when Socialism was on the retreat and Fascism on the rise, Orwell must already have begun to glimpse the world which he was to envision with vigorous clarity in ‘1984’. This review is a dual review then, of ‘1984’ and of ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’.

Written ostensibly as a documentary-report on the life of the working classes in the industrial towns of england, Orwell uses his reportage to investigate two c...more
B0nnie
The Road to Wigan Pier FAQs

Back in the days when I hung out in that other dimension called usenet, I wrote several *FAQS* for alt.books.george-orwell (alas, now dead, a repository for villainous spam - RIP):

Q & A with George Orwell:


B: Will you tell us about the Brookers, the people with whom you stayed for a while in Wigan?

O: Of course - mind if I smoke? - Mrs Brooker was too ill to do anything except eat stupendous meals, and Mr Brooker was a dark, small-boned, sour, Irish-looking man, and...more
Hadrian
The Road to Wigan Pier is a book in two parts, both observant and fiery. This is one of Orwell's lesser-known works, but still one of his better ones. It surpasses Burmese Days and might almost reach Homage to Catalonia.

The first part is a visit to the coal-mining areas up north, and a chronicling of the miners' lives. It's reminiscent of Engels' Conditions of the English Working Class, but with less statistics and more coal mining, and the social conditions of the miners themselves. Here, he ha...more
Kim

Orwell was commissioned to write this book by his publisher Victor Gollancz, a campaigner for left-wing causes and the founder of the Left Book Club. It comprises two journeys. The first finds Orwell in investigative journalist mode, as he embarks on a physical journey amongst industrial workers in the economically depressed north of England, investigating and describing the causes and symptoms of poverty. The second is a journey of the mind, which takes the form of a long essay in which Orwell...more
Tristessa
In the first half of The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell catalogues his participant/observation of the economically deprived North of England focusing on squalor, pollution and hardship during the Depression. Wigan Pier is a dystopic bleak vision of degrading capitalism - without his study, 1984 would not have existed. As political polemic in the second half, he provides the solution; Socialism. Orwell, fully aware of his own upper middle class prejudices, set to challenge his own feelings of disgust...more
Jonfaith
Much like Hemingway's lost satchel or Genet's samizdat manuscripts, I'll piece this together from jumbled memories. How's that for hubris?

The Road To Wigan Pier was amongst the best books I've read this year. The route established by Orwell is more sinuous than expected. He examines a lodging house and then travels to the pits themselves. He finds valor in those who toil. He doesn't patronize.

He ponders the unemployment issue in England. He busts myths. He unrolls lengths of statistics. He the...more
umberto
I'm rereading this wonderful, bitter narration of the poor in Wigan Pier in England eleven years before I was born (first published in 1937) briefly today. It's the sad aftermath for me to review this almost dry, damp copy due to the unexpected deluge that leaked into our Language Center on the ground floor after the heavy, steady rainfalls in the evening last Thursday (September 8). Therefore, on Friday our staff, officials and students helped us move stacks of books, course sheets, academic dr...more
Lorenzo Berardi
I took the Road to Wigan Pier way too fastly.
I drove by night through the 215 milestones between the beginning and the end of this trip.

I have just parked for a few minutes halfway on the blank space between part I and part II. I turned off the engine and the headlights, had a little nap, restarted and drove straight to the very last page.

I should have not been in a hurry. And yet I couldn't go any slower. Curiosity pushed me to run, to accelerate. And in that speed some details faded away, w...more
Priya
Mar 15, 2008 Priya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ken Loach wannabes, V-in-the making
I read this as a budding social revolutionary (!) in my days of high school rebellion so have fond memories of the author/book and find it difficult to slag him/it off.

That being said, I like Orwell's journalistic accounts (like this one and Burmese Days), I like his writing style as the crisp prose of a journalist shines through and I like his commitment to showing how, even in a fairly well-off society like Britain, there have always been people who are forgotten about.

It's not all about the...more
Perry Whitford
- the Brooker's filthy boarding-house: 'On the day when there was a full chamber-pot under the
breakfast table I decided to leave'.
- importance of coal at that time: 'In order that Hitler may march the goose-step, that the Pope may denounce Bolshevism, that the cricket crowds may assemble at Lords, that the poets may scratch one another’s backs, coal has got to be forthcoming'.
- Orwell describes the extreme physical conditions that have to be withstood by a miner and concedes that 'by no conceiva...more
Guy Portman
This highly acclaimed and controversial book came into existence as a result of a left-wing publisher by the name of Victor Gollancz commissioning Orwell to make a contribution to what he described as the ‘condition of England’. Gollancz later decided to include the resulting work in his Left Book Club series.

The first half of the book sees Orwell traveling through industrial Northern Britain, detailing and commenting on the working-class life that he comes across, beginning with his experiences...more
Jerome Peterson
I have read several works by George Orwell. All of them have created a stir in my thoughts. I hope you have felt that stirring too. "The Road to Wigan Pier" has continued the rustle. Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. The unpredictable Orwell went further and investigate the employed as well. A striking, haunting account of living conditions that makes you gasp. Orwell spreads his unique dry British humor th...more
Mike Lovato
Personality types never change, socialism is good, fascism is bad, but i still couldn't tell you what either one really means.

You shouldn't complain about your job, unless of course you are a coal miner.

Peaked an interest in better understanding the political climate between world war 1 and 2, especially the appeal of fascism. Today it seems clearly evil, but back then there were a lot of otherwise sensible people buying in. I would like to learn more about the context that lead to this.
Masoome Ya
بی شک ، خمودگی و ناتوانی از بزرگترین اثرهای وحشتناک بیکاری است که بر همه ی عضوهای خانواده و به ویژه مرد مؤثر می باشد.شمار بزرگی از مردان و زنان بیکار،استعدادهای نهانی بسیاری دارند،چنانکه خود گروهی از کارگران بیکار را می شناسم که دارای ذوق و استعداد قابل توجهی هستند و نوشتارهای آنها اغلب از مقاله هایی که آن منتقدان ادبی شکم گنده می نویسند،بسیار گیراتر و جذاب تر است.پس چرا چیزی نمی نویسند و وقت خود را به بیهودگی می گذرانند؟پاسخ این است که برای نوشتن به سکوت و آرامش فکری نیاز است و این چیزی است که...more
Anthony D Buckley
One of the best pieces of reportage I have encountered. Orwell discovers the English working class and, with kindness but without sentimentality, he describes what he sees.
Kc
Brilliant. His second half rant is still incredibly topical and something we who would like to see justice and fairness prevail should take heed of!
Mitchell
After returning from Burma in 1927, George Orwell found that his beliefs and prejudices had been completely upturned after witnessing the evil brutality of the British imperial system. He decided he wanted “to escape not merely from imperialism but from every form of man’s dominion over man. I wanted to submerge myself, to get right down among the oppressed, to be one of them and on their side against the tyrants.”

He ended up spending much time amongst the working class, and the result of that w...more
Anbu
Socialism is something that is being touted as the way to achieve a utopian society for more than a century by a lot more intellects. When you read about the socialism and its principles, it is very easy to accept all unless if you are blinded by the ‘faith of God’ or you are one of the capitalist. Then why did the world embraced the socialism even after more than hundred years? George Orwell tried to address it in this book. He starts with the status of working class and the difficulties in for...more
Ian
Part One is a really well written account of Orwell's time spent with the working-classes in Northern England, specifically concentrating on miners in Wigan, but also looking at Sheffield. It is a pretty bleak description at times, and it is clear how much respect Orwell had for miners in particular, and the working class in general. It is worth remembering this book was researched and written in the mid-to-late '30s, when class was much more of an issue than I would say it is nowadays.



Certainl...more
Teresa
4.5/5
It's a brilliant book/essay, oh Orwell I love you more day (book) by day (book). Basically the first part he explains his experience in the Northern part of England, living with the coal miners (and the unemployed), going down the mines and so on. Plus, giving a handful of statistics about their precarious living standards (also, my edition came with a dozen of pictures taken by him at the time). He steadily describes the appalling lives of more than 20 million people in England during the...more
Micah
There are a couple throwaway chapters in here, but Orwell's reportage on the working and living conditions of Northern England miners is top-notch--"unsentimental," as Orwell's reviewers always like to say, but it's true. Orwell is motivated by an honest sense of horror at what he sees in and around the mines, but that sense never leads him to hyperbole, nor to romanticization of working class life.

And the second half (where a throwaway chapter or two can also be found) is quite brutal on the 19...more
Megan
The first half was good - interesting view into the lives of coal miners inbetween the two world wars.

The second half - reads like some giant drunken ramble. Some parts were fascinating, like Orwell talking about what was going on in his life when he did the things he wrote about in Burmese Days and Down and Out in Paris and London. There were a couple of other parts that held my attention that I forget, and it was interesting to read about his take on socialism too. Other than that the second h...more
Laura
This is probably the best piece of writing I have read all year. The descriptive first section is bleak, grotesque and captivating. Reading certain recounts of Sheffield and Wigan at their most horrendous, you can almost see the landscape for Orwell's '1984' already forming. The solution to the squalor he witnesses, given in the second section, is Socialism; which is argued almost well enough to convince me (who has grown up in a household so Tory that both parents voted William Hague in the 199...more
Victoria Esposito
Blew me away. "Could not put it down" does not mean that much for me, because I am perennially wandering around the house with a book in one hand while I try to (cook, knit, groom the cats, paint the house, whatever) one-handed. So it's not that big a deal that I wouldn't quit reading this. What is a huge deal is that I was mesmerized. I kept reading passages to my husband and quoting bits of description or apt phrases or things that stood out or that haven't changed a bit since 1937...this went...more
Nigeyb
I've recently read quite a few books by George Orwell (The Clergyman's Daughter, Coming Up For Air, Keep and The Aspidistra Flying), having previously read Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm and Homage to Catalonia, and am rapidly coming to the conclusion that he's one of my favourite writers. This was only the second time I've sampled his non-fiction.

Before I discuss my thoughts on the book I want to mention how much I enjoy Orwell's writing style. In his essay Politics and the English Language...more
Damon
"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist and feminist in England."

Amen, brother.

Really, though - this book sucks. I couldn't finish it. I got to within about 50 pages of the end, but realized that I was just disconnecting my brain and reading through the words without any real comprehension. I was hoping for a more nar...more
Dean MacKinnon-Thomson
3/5

This is a brilliant account of the harshness faced by the urban poor, in a Britain ruled by cut off elites, and bourgeois liberal idealists. The grime, the filth, the injustice is balanced off by an (excessively) romanticised vision of the basic decencies and heroisms of working class life.


Excessive: because it entirely airbrushes the feminist struggle out of the working class narrative. Misogyny is dripping from each attempt of (bourgeois middle class) Orwell prose on the working class. His...more
Troy Parfitt
Published in 1937, George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier documents the grinding poverty of northern England, namely Lancashire and Yorkshire. As with Orwell’s better-known and somewhat similar Down and Out in Paris and London, the author sets out to investigate the conditions of the poor by living among them and writing about his experiences. There is a chapter on coal miners and mines, and Orwell elucidates on the culture and mechanics of the industry; he goes down a mine to report, taking the...more
Andrew
This isn't Orwell's strongest book, but it remains strong. It's split into two distinct halves.

The first and far stronger half is a journalistic report of conditions in the mill towns of Northern England. While there is a certain feeling of slum tourism to it, it's still a brilliant lens on a working class life in a place at a time.

But in the second part, Orwell slumps a bit. He critiques capitalism, capitalists, and various styles of socialism and various types of socialists. Yes, it's satire,...more
Michael
Orwell tells it like it is (was in 1937).
Whilst Europe and the old British Empire were rapidly approaching a confrontation with Nationalism and Fascism things were far from happy at home.
Orwell was sent to the North of England to report on hardships and unemployment in the industrial areas. His attempt to describe the things he found there to a middle class London intelligentsia were largely successful. All these decades later his book is really useful in invoking insights for us.... the past is...more
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Bright Young Things: September 2012 - The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell 10 32 Sep 14, 2012 04:34PM  
  • The Condition of the Working Class in England
  • The People of the Abyss
  • The Making of the English Working Class
  • The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
  • Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
  • Karl Marx
  • The Strange Death of Liberal England
  • The Power Elite
  • To the Finland Station
  • Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
  • Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain
  • The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939
  • The Age of Capital: 1848-1875
  • Why Orwell Matters
  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
  • Roman Lives: A Selection of Eight Lives
  • The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
  • History of the Russian Revolution
3706
Eric 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.

Considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote fi...more
More about George Orwell...
1984 Animal Farm Animal Farm / 1984 Down and Out in Paris and London Homage to Catalonia

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“A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion....Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.” 44 likes
“The train bore me away, through the monstrous scenery of slag-heaps, chimneys, piled scrap-iron, foul canals, paths of cindery mud criss-crossed by the prints of clogs. This was March, but the weather had been horribly cold and everywhere there were mounds of blackened snow. As we moved slowly through the outskirts of the town we passed row after row of little grey slum houses running at right angles to the embankment. At the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stones, poking a stick up the leaden waste-pipe which ran from the sink inside and which I suppose was blocked. I had time to see everything about her—her sacking apron, her clumsy clogs, her arms reddened by the cold. She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second in which I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever-seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us,’ and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. She knew well enough what was happening to her—understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there in the bitter cold, on the slimy stones of a slum backyard, poking a stick up a foul drain-pipe.” 11 likes
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