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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  209 ratings  ·  33 reviews
George Orwell was an inveterate keeper of diaries. The Orwell Diaries presents eleven of them, covering the period 1931-1949, and follows Orwell from his early years as a writer to his last literary notebook. An entry from 1931 tells of a communal shave in the Trafalgar Square fountains, while notes from his travels through industrial England show the development of the im ...more
ebook, 624 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Liveright (first published 2009)
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Collection of Orwell's diaries, taken down over a period of almost 20 years: 1931-1950.

The first two substantial sections are written in the 1930s. The first describes his time spent as a migrant farm laborer, and the second describes his visits to industrial towns which would eventually contribute to The Road to Wigan Pier. In both of these, we see scrupulous attention to detail.

The third and longest portion of the diaries deals with the Second World War, covering the months before the war up t
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Eric Arthur Blair, aka George Orwell, kept close account of his life, both the political and the domestic. These diaries are selected spans of time representing his life and the history surrounding it.

This volume includes:
Hop-Picking Diary - August 25, 1931-March 25, 1936
The Road to Wigan Pier Diary - August 9, 1938, March 28, 1939
Domestic Diary Volume I (August 9, 1938- March 28, 1939) intercalated with
Morocco Diary - September 7, 1938 - March 28, 1939
Domestic Diary Volume II (May 27, 1939 - Au
I really wanted this to be more interesting than it is. Dudes, it's Orwell, for Christ's sake. But after six months of dutifully reading this blog, I've had enough. There's only so many entries composed entirely of descriptions of the local weather, flora, fauna, and accounting of eggs a girl can take. I mean, really.
I'm a bit biased, Orwell is my favorite author..and I have a secret crush on him (well now it's not so secret :])
Brian Robbins
Orwell is one of those authors as we all know who creates strong reactions in many of his readers, either for or against.

Unfortunately many of those who write about him, including some of the more superficial biographers, respond to him from a political point of view as if that summed up the whole man; he tends to be lauded or attacked as a person & a writer from the very narrow perspective of a superficial perception of what his political views are supposed to have been. It’s the equivelan
Joseph Raffetto
I’m a huge George Orwell fan. Down and Out in Paris and London and 1984 are two entirely different but amazing works for art, and you’ll find a little of both in his diaries.

The book begins with a fine introduction by the late Christopher Hitchens: “By declining to lie, even as far as possible to himself, and by his determination to seek elusive but verifiable truth, he showed how much can be accomplished by an individual who unites the qualities of intellectual honesty and moral courage.”

Clearly the diaries don't match the best of Orwell's essays and novels. But they do offer a fascinating insight into the man, who was far more practical than most intellectuals.
Moira Russell
Aug 24, 2012 Moira Russell marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-the-queue
MINE MINE MINE PREEECIOUS. ahem! Um, I mean, these arrived today.
Maureen M
I wrote this mini-review for the paper:
The mind that delivered “1984” and other dark prophesies comes into unflinching focus in “George Orwell Diaries.” Page upon page reveals a man who brought the same scrutiny to all about him, from the events leading up to World War II to the number of eggs the hens were laying. He missed nothing. He wrote everything down. The diaries, from 1931 to 1946, describe an unrelenting reformer going back to the time he upset the locals by helping an English coal mi
Derek Baldwin
This starts well with an account of Orwell slumming it with Kentish hop-pickers, albeit that much of the material was reproduced in A Clergyman's Daughter and elsewhere. Then follow various diaries which largely repeat world events (albeit epochal ones) with relatively little comment, and endless accounts of how many eggs the hens have laid. This definitely starts to pall after a while. I didn't get more than 40% through the book.

I love Orwell, he's a great treasure as a writer and was an almost
As an Orwell aficionado, I believe that there are 6 layers of Orwell's writing (from most well-known to least):
1. 1984 and Animal Farm (Standard reading in American public education)
2. Politics and the English Language, Why I Write, Shooting an Elephant (Famous essays)
3. Homage to Catalonia, Down and Out in Paris and London (Relatively famous personal books)
4. Such, Such Were the Joys, The Lion and the Unicorn (Less famous essays)
5. Coming Up for Air, Burmese Days (Early and less famous novels)
I was excited to read this as George Orwell is one of my favorite authors and I wanted to learn more about his personal life through these "Diaries." The first couple chapters of the book were very informative and I enjoyed them a lot, then the book divided into chapters that were alternately interesting and not so interesting. (In between each interesting chapter of the book were what was called a "Domestic Diary" and each of these meandered into daily weather reports, animal/farming updates, a ...more
GEORGE ORWELL: DIARIES. (2012). Peter Davison (ed.). ****.
This is, in general, a dipping book, and wouldn’t make too much sense to the general reader without the expert editing job done by editor Davison. The skill and perception of Orwell shines through in most of the entries, and show many of the roots of later writings – if that’s what you are looking for – but, in the main provides a look at his remarkable sense of perception of the world around him. This work is most important for Orwell s
Aug 16, 2012 Tom marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diary-journal
Interesting review in NYT:

Sounds like this one is for the die-hard fan, which includes me, but I'm sure I'll wait for pb version. (O's letters, though, in Collected Journalism, Essays and Letters, are quite good, a must-read for anyone with deep interest in his work.) Christopher Hitchens' intro, one of his final pieces, is an added attraction.
Sep 16, 2012 MG marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
A cup of maybe with a teaspoon of so-so reviews and a pinch of author worship. Let simmer.
Gaylord Dold
Davidson, Peter (ed.), George Orwell: Diaries, Liveright Publishing/W.W.Norton, New York, 2012 (597pp.$39.95)

One hundred million people died during the various ideological and political catastrophes of the 20th century---wars, famines and holocausts brought on by the tripartite clashing of imperial capitalist colonialism, nationalism, fascism and totalitarian communism. Perhaps no single person better observed these monumental disasters than George Orwell, born Eric Blair to a middling bourgeois
Orwell is - of all writers, of all time - the one I feel closest to, and perhaps even most grateful to, and would most like to have met. (And, having spent many afternoons in Trafalgar Square, there's a thrill in reading of him spending a cold night on a bench there in 1936 and then shaving in one of the fountains in the morning.) But his diaries are at best moderately interesting (the Hop-Picking Diary, and the Road to Wigan Pier Diary, with their sweaty, vividly immediate evocations of an ordi ...more
Robert Sheppard

George Orwell was an inveterate and compulsive writer of diaries, lists, news summaries and notebooks. He daily, even hourly jotted down his ideas, notes on friends and fellow writers, excerpts and clippings from newspapers, recipes, farming and gardening hints and records, biographical materials on leaders and activist
I found this book interesting because it seems like these diaries were the starting point of many of Orwell's books. One can understand the thinking that went behind 1984, what moved Orwell about modern poverty, his thoughts about the war (often incorrect, in the light of subsequent events), etc. Many parts of this book are skip-worthy, what with Orwell documenting the number of eggs his chickens laid, or how ill his goat was an so on (one imagines that Orwell never intended for those diaries to ...more
Steve Gillway
This is good for Orwell on the 30s, pre and post-Spain and WW2 diary. Brings things to life and reminds us that events never seem so clear cut at the time. What will happen in Ukraine? at this moment there are various scenarios which are possible. The flavour of his demostic diary is telling , the chickens - the number of eggs, the length of time a gas bottle will last, the weather report etc. However, I think the at once you have the sense of Orwell the smallholder, you won't want to go through ...more
David Rudd
I enjoyed these diaries in places. It was fascinating to read the sections that corresponded with his novels. I particularly enjoyed the sections that linked to clergyman's daughter. Certainly worth a read for the completest and Orwellian.
a little hard to get through but well worth it if you are an Orwell fan. the account if his daily life might appear trivial but he covers some pretty important historical events and shows the source of inspiration for many of his books.
Zoe Jean
I had to put George aside, his diaries of his living the life of the downtrodden was sometimes slow and full of information that a casual student of the early 20th century would have already known. However, if you not familiar with his life, and you like his body of work, it is a book worth checking out.
David Bober
Reading the diaries confirms two things. First, that Orwell was a phenomenal author. Second, that he was a terribly annoying (dare I say awful?) man. I still admire him as an author, but I now like him even less as an individual.
Christopher Brennan
Filled with details both fascinating and mundane this volume is especially helpful to anyone studying Orwell as a living breathing human and not a mythic figure standing atop a pedestal.
Fascinating read for Orwell fans and scholars. The labor and wartime diaries are incredible, but the domestic diaries are absolutely torturous after the first hundred pages or so.
Not what I hoped for which were his thoughts while writing Burmese Days. Either I missed them or they appear in another volume. Book due back at the library.
Not a lot of material on his writing or writing process, but interesting comments on the early years of the war. And makes me wish I had an island farm!
I'm not the biggest fan of diaries, but Orwell's observations and notes are often insightful and offer a glimpse of the man behind the writer.
Very interesting indeed.
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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.

Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary ed
More about George Orwell...
1984 Animal Farm Animal Farm / 1984 Down and Out in Paris and London Homage to Catalonia

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“Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist.” 17 likes
“[I]t struck me how easy it is to bamboozle an uneducated audience if you have prepared beforehand a set of repartees with which to evade awkward questions."
. . .
"You can go on and on telling lies, and the most palpable lies at that, and even if they are not actually believed, there is no strong revulsion either. We are all drowning in filth. When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has an axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgment have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone's thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a 'case' with deliberate suppression of his opponent's point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends…. But is there no one who has both firm opinions and a balanced outlook? Actually there are plenty, but they are powerless. All power is in the hands of paranoiacs.”
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