George Orwell
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4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  511 ratings  ·  36 reviews
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

A generous and varied selection–the only hardcover edition available–of the literary and political writings of one of the greatest essayists of the twentieth century.

Although best known as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four, George Orwell left an even more lastingly significant achievement in his voluminous essays, which dealt...more
ebook, 1424 pages
Published by Everyman's Library (first published June 29th 2000)
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Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic)
This is an enormous doorstop of a book, with over 1,300 pages of George Orwell’s essays. Of course that doesn’t cover everything he wrote, but it’s an awful lot. While best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell was probably a better essayist than a novelist. This volume contains Orwell’s best and most famous essays, printed many places (including online), like “Such, Such Were the Joys,” “Shooting an Elephant,” and “Politics and the English Language." It also includes...more
Nick Black
man, this book is such a great old friend.
Orwell is skyrocketing up my list of major 20th century writers with every one of the 255 pages I've thus far read of this 1300+ page behemoth. The man was amazingly prescient, at a deep, detailed level.

This was one of the best collections of essays I've ever read, probably second only to Freeman Dyson's The Scientist as a Rebel. Across 1363 pages of essays from 1928-1949 (the vast majority of them coming from 1938-1946), written for a wide gamut of...more
A brilliant set of essays, providing great insights into Orwell's world -- the end of colonialism, the rise of fascism and Stalinism, the evolution of British society. I read Orwell's essays in college (in fact, I may have read some in high school), and have usually carried a volume around with me since. Orwell has been one of the most influential people in the shaping of my own world view.

So many great essays -- in "Politics and the English Language," Orwell talks about why so many political t...more
Joseph Nicolello
I honestly have no clue how I forgot to catalog this. Two renewals twice as many summers past. Nine golden weeks. Makes for a good weapon in the case of a mugging as well, also good on the arm muscles. Indispensable.
Already a year (or just about) has gone by since I started this 1366-page collection, reading a few essays here and there, in between other books, and while I really liked reading about Orwell's thoughts on a variety of subjects, I'm glad I'm done reading this book. Now I can move on to something else.

Some thoughts, then:

This book is best enjoyed when read in small doses. That way you can (1) avoid getting bored/annoyed with a seemingly endless string of essays, (2) take the time to reflect on...more
There are a few authors that you are forced to read in school, or that you know the name of, even if you haven't read them. They are considered 'good' or 'important writers' and after a while they get the stigma of people only reading them because they want to sound impressive. So they can say for example, oh yes I've read Shakespeare, or oh yes The Grapes of Wrath, I've read that. And I always watch myself because I know part of me wants to read books by people like this, simply so I too can sa...more
Veronika Cukrov
As relaxing as this might be to read, it is (precisely for the fact) nothing more than mediocre, self-evident journalism lacking philosophical aspects which would contribute to these articles becoming real essays (which they aren't).
Orwell fails to reach (perhaps purposely) to the core of the problem and prefers to columnistically explore the current (at the time of writing, of course) geo-political situation leading him to unfounded conclusions and a couple of strategic guesses regarding near-f...more
Highly recommended, I only wish I could write this clearly, or even think this clearly. A lot about politics, propaganda and modern life (both haven't really changed since then it seems), the most impressive thing to me is that even though he nowadays counts as a socialist, he can impartially describe the follies of both left and right without falling for the lies and (self-)deceptions of either side. I don't know any "modern" (as in, currently alive) writers who can do this.

As a sidenote, one c...more
Indispensable and important to me in a beyond-words kind of way. I read every single essay in this sucker -- with joy in my heart, I might add -- and am so glad I didn't just pick my way through the appealing-sounding ones, but for you picker-throughers (i.e. non-insane people), here are the best offerings from the best writer of non-fiction of ever, nothing less than a unintentional primer on how to write, think, and act like a human being. You're welcome, and Happy New Year!

A Hanging
Shooting a...more
Marc Horton
I will be buried with this book. But hopefully not until after I expire.
Andrew Rosner
Some years ago, I had a chance to take part in a seminar in effective business writing. The moral was simple - the more direct your prose is, the better. If one were to look for a good example of this axiom, I don't think you could do much better than this collection of Orwell's essays. Orwell wasn't just a good essayist; he was superb. Never a wasted word, but more importantly, never a word put down without having thought out his aims first. These essays range from the tongue in cheek ("In Defe...more
I read and loved 1984 and Animal Farm in high school, but I knew almost nothing more about their author until I found this Everyman's Library collection. I love the books in this collection, with the elegant covers and the little gold bookmarks and the low prices, so I picked out this book, more or less on a whim. I loved it. It's a hulking monster of a collection, with 1300+ pages of Orwell's observations during, just before, and just after WWII. Orwell's devotion to socialism in pervasive but...more
In fact I read most of these essays in this handsome hardcover some 4-5 years ago during my gloomy days due to my unsatisfactorily productive academic pursuit at UQ. However I recalled vaguely I had written some ideas, reflections, views, etc. regarding his inspiring essays since I always admire his writing style with good, witty points he has long mentioned and urged the world to have a look or take action as appropriate then and beyond.

Therefore, it is my delight whenever I see some GR readers...more
Jim Coughenour
A splendid doorstop (at 1369 pages), this Everyman edition of Orwell's essays has given me many hours of deep pleasure. The classics are worth revisiting: the disturbing "Shooting an Elephant" and "Marrakech;" the astringent "Politics and the English Language" (the moralist's version of Strunk and White's Elements of Style); the confused, almost plaintive "Why I Write." My favorite is Orwell's blistering mini-memoir "Such, Such Were the Joys," closely followed by "A Nice Cup of Tea," the authori...more
Priceless exemplifications of the modern essay. Orwell on writing, on patriotism, on the power of mystery stories and much else is still wise and thoroughly relevant. Above all else, he holds up vivid expression and always non-sentimental observation. The polar opposite of bloviating, noisemaking talking heads and pundits today. For writers and aspiring writers, essential reading and re-reading . . .
lots of orwell's thoughts on various matters, from the perfect cup of tea to the necessity of socialism. wonderful essay on updating written english, with an example of vegetable being spelled vejtbl, which seems far more accurate to what is generally spoken. an introduction to a translated version of animal farm is also of note, and a long piece about his time in schooling institutions.
I doubt that I'll ever read every essay in this book, but Orwell's writings (1984, Animal Farm and the dozen or so essays I've read to date) are phenomenal. His writing is universal; his insights (and critiques) into human nature and man's relationship to his country/government (and vice versa) are as applicable today as they were when written.
I would recommend this book to any fan of writing.
Orwell is at his strongest in his essay writing. From his enlightening book reviews to his poignant descriptions of urban poverty to his in-depth analyses of the world around him (look for "Inside the Whale"), Orwell always strikes a nerve somewhere. This collection deserves a place in the book shelf of anyone interested in the problems of the 20th century.
Orwell has to be the best essayist of all times. My favorite are his literary critiques, which are the most interesting for the cultural and political analysis he brings to them. Orwell is a smart radical, far outside of the dogma of the left at a time when people like him (and there seemed to be few in the 1940s) were castigated from all sides.
How can I ever call this book finished. This book keeps Orwell alive for me. I swear to you when you are reading his essays it feels like he has his hand on your shoulder, a look of compassion and understanding in his eyes, while he is telling you what there is to life.
Ian Foster
Aug 29, 2007 Ian Foster is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
You have to really like Orwell's non-fiction because this is ajust a collection of his writing for newspapers, etc. I think Orwell is probably one of the most influential writers of all time, even if just for 1984 which I think has changed the world to some degree.
I had read “Shooting an Elephant” before, in high school, when I thought the essay depressing and long (now it seems very short). Orwell communicates the elephant’s pain without employing the lurid details that are typical in descriptions of violence.
May 15, 2008 Angus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with lots of time, Orwell scholars
1363 pages of holly fuck I'll never make it to the end of this. Most of this book is correspondence, book reviews and stuff like that. His articles and short stories are great, especially "shooting an elephant" and his "As I Please" essays.
Nick Cooper
I haven't read this in its entirety; I haven't even read half. But wherever I turn, I find myself blown away by the insights and the writing. Everything is crystal clear when you're reading Orwell. It's an absolute treat to read.
This is a great book to have around. Whenever I want to read, but don't necessarily want to dive into the novel I am in the middle of, I can flip to any of the hundreds of essays provided here and enjoy his wonderful voice.
Im not going to even pretend I read all 1300 plus pages, I skipped around to some of the more releavant essays. I just want to get it off my currently readings list, because in reality I probably never could read all the essays.
Jan 07, 2009 Andy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is huge, so I will be working on it for a while.
I love Orwell's novels, so this will be fun!

Just finished the first few essays today. This is certainly the best Christmas present of the year.
Nov 18, 2007 Jessica marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-i-owned
I'm definitely not going to read the whole thing. It's way too long. I'm just going to skip around and sample a little bit every day or so, until it has to go back to the library.
Carlos Santos
Intoxicating collection of essays, a journey back in time into George Orwell's thought process, life and ideas. I need to get a hard copy of this for my library
Clay Waldrop
orwell is amazing. though, as with all collected works, there is a lot to wade through. you must enjoy the essay form to enjoy this book.
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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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“To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.” 11 likes
“The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable"...In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.” 9 likes
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