Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Inside George Orwell: A Biography” as Want to Read:
Inside George Orwell: A Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Inside George Orwell: A Biography

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  137 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Big Brother, Newspeak, Room 101, Doublethink. Few writers can boast the brilliant legacy of George Orwell, both in his numerous additions to the English language and in his profound influence on world literature. This book attempts to bring to life the man behind the words. It explores the influence of his childhood and Eton education, his experience as a policeman in Burm
...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Palgrave MacMillan (first published 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Inside George Orwell, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Inside George Orwell

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
George Orwell was born in June, 1903. No, he wasn’t. George Orwell was born in January, 1933. Actually, both are true. What; is there something Orwellian here; are we to entertain contradictory statements without being aware of the contradiction? Are we in the foothills of double-think?

OK, then, let me clarify: Eric Arthur Blair, who was to become George Orwell, was indeed born in June, 1903. Although he had previously published some minor articles with the by-line E. A. Blair, the pen name by
...more
Bettie☯
CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH REVIEW: Divine Comedy versus 1984

Due to the lightening of the stifling religiosity that once held sway o'er continental Europe, the caverns, grottoes and circles that once were known collectively as Hell lay all but dormant for a fair few years.



Then this guy called Virgil, with his mate Bird Brian Brains, started up an excursion business, and also started letting out areas for film crews, authors and any number of conspiracy theorists. The most lucrative was this:



and maybe
...more
Kim
Nov 15, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a perceptive and well-written biography of a complex, eccentric and flawed man. Bowker does a great job coming to grips with his subject, whose life he details in straightforward chronological order. He occasionally engages in some unnecessary speculation of the "Orwell must have thought ..." variety, but not so often that it adversely affects his credibility as a biographer. Bowker's prose is clear and uncomplicated and if the list of sources is any indication his research appears to be
...more
Mikey B.
Sep 03, 2008 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
An Inside Look at a GREAT Author

The title is indeed descriptive as the author probes the inner workings of the great author - Eric Blair (aka George Orwell). Bowker exposes the dualism of Blair/Orwell to describe many of the man's layers.
Blair, in his twenties, was a policeman for the British colonialist empire in Burma. He came to loathe the job and what he did. Just what he did can only be conjectured - but one can imagine the power of a colonial authority in Burma in the early 1900's.

In l
...more
Horza
Nov 02, 2015 Horza added it
Digs up some interesting biographical details but runs out of analytical steam, particularly towards the end. The concluding chapter is a mess and there are significant typographical errors and stylistic idiosyncracies.
Todd
May 28, 2014 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my college days I read everything by George Orwell that I could get my hands on. Since it was the early 70s, this meant all of the published novels, essays, and reviews. Today there is much more available, including diaries and letters, and this more recent material I have not read. Mainly, I think, I loved the clarity of his writing. It was more his voice and his ability to give clear expression to an idea, rather than his politics or ability to tell a story, that attracted me.

I recall that
...more
John Park
He was Eric A. Blair for much of his life. Born into an upper-middle class English family, he endured the harsh, even brutal, environments of a convent school and then English boarding schools including Eton. Of his experience at the convent school the following anecdote offers a hint:

When we were children we had a story that after Robin Hood was done to death in the Priory, his men raped & murdered the nuns, & burned the priory to the ground. It seems this has no foundation in the ball
...more
Brigi
I read this book for my BA thesis, but it was actually quite an interesting read which made me want to know more about Orwell. It's very detailed, it accentuates the childhood of the author (probably as an influence of the man himself - he declared that the childhood of an individual is essential in its forming). Gordon Bowker did a great job - tried to illustrate the great author and the great man through letters, articles and fragments from the journals of Orwell's friends. He also kind of sep ...more
Allen
Nov 21, 2014 Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
My first biography read to learn more about the person rather than as history to learn more about the time in which they lived. George Orwell, born Eric Blair, is familiar to most as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, his last two and most famous novels, written just before his death from TB in 1950 at the age of 46. The book is well researched, presenting Orwell as the extremely complex person that he was, womanizer, journalist, anti-Imperialist, and political activist "attacki ...more
Stuart
Aug 22, 2014 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This biography is certainly not fawning, Bowler doesn't shirk from the more undesirable qualities of his subject. Nevertheless, this is a good introduction to Eric Blair the man and George Orwell the author. I especially appreciated his underlining the fact that with "Animal Farm" and "1984", Orwell was attacking Stalinism and Communism from the left (Labour party style Socialism). Those on the right who twisted his works for their own ends need constant reminding of this fact. In an age when pe ...more
Kerra
Feb 28, 2012 Kerra rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book for an assignment and it definitely had more than enough information for me to use. I'm also genuinely interested in reading biographies and I legitimately enjoyed reading it. It wasn't the most fun book I've ever read but I still liked it.
Emmett
Jul 14, 2010 Emmett rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
to be honest, it was so poorly written i gave-up reading it "conventionally" before i even reached 100 pages, and just decided to flick through the index, reading segments on subjects i'm most interested in.
Linda
Jan 20, 2008 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as most literary biographies
Matthew Carr
Mar 18, 2014 Matthew Carr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb warts-and-all biography of Orwell, whose analysis of Orwell's complicated personality enhances the reader's understanding of his work. Full of insight, intelligence and empathy.
Stuart Goodwin
A workmanlike job. Informative but rarely inspired. An effort to finish,
Paul Hughes


Didn't finish this. Readable enough, but too little focus on Orwell's writing. Book should be at least a third shorter. Read Hitchens on Orwell instead.
Erin
Aug 10, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this biography of Orwell. Even after studying Orwell off and on for fifteen years now, there were bits and pieces presented in this biography that were new to me.
Mia
Nov 05, 2009 Mia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose the audio version. At first it took a little settling into and then I was hooked and will probably listen again.
İlkin Santak
İlkin Santak rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2013
Scott
Scott rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2007
Alan
Alan rated it liked it
Mar 29, 2012
Paul
Paul rated it liked it
May 11, 2014
Richard Sullivan
Richard Sullivan rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2013
Michele Jaquays
Michele Jaquays rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2016
Linus Lmj
Linus Lmj rated it really liked it
Jan 31, 2016
Sariah
Sariah rated it liked it
May 04, 2009
Neal
Neal rated it liked it
May 26, 2008
Perseus Q
Perseus Q rated it it was ok
Sep 11, 2013
Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell rated it it was ok
Feb 11, 2017
Michael
Michael rated it it was ok
May 28, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • George Orwell: A Life
  • George Orwell: The Authorised Biography
  • Dostoevsky: The Stir of Liberation, 1860-1865
  • Orwell
  • A Nation of Nations: A Story of America After the 1965 Immigration Law
  • Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties
  • Ataturk: An Intellectual Biography
  • John Steinbeck: A Biography
  • Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism
  • The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series
  • Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care
  • Hemingway
  • Let the People in: The Life and Times of Ann Richards
  • Intellectuals and Race
  • The Life And Death Of Andy Warhol
  • Inside the Whale and Other Essays
  • Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools
  • Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans

Share This Book