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My Country Right or Left: 1940-1943 (The Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters, Vol. 2)

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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  359 ratings  ·  19 reviews
My Country Right or Left features notes and essays on the Second World War (including two war diaries), reflections on life working for the BBC, reviews of Hitlers Mein Kampf and books by T.S. Eliot, Orwell's "London Letters" to the Partisan Review, and his famous analysis of the English character, "The Lion and the Unicorn."

--From the 2000 edition.
Paperback, 477 pages
Published April 26th 2007 by Nonpareil Books (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 946)
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Sidharth Vardhan
The following is my list of chosen articles (in order of importance)
1. No, Not One
2. The Lion and the Unicorn
3. New Words
4. Looking Back on the Spanish War
5. The Frontiers of Art and Propaganda
6. Tolstoy and Shakespeare
7. Wells, Hitler and the World State
8. Review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
9. Poetry and the Microphone
10. Review of Beggar My Neighbor by Lionel Fielden
11. The Art of Donald McGill
12. Charles Reade
13. Rudyard Kipling
14. The Rediscovery of Europe
15. Pamphlet Literature
16
...more
Mitchell
This second volume of Orwell’s collected works cover the period from 1940-1943. This was a time when Orwell had published several novels and made a name for himself as an investigative journalist and socialist writer, and as such there are far fewer letters to other writers and far more published opinion pieces and articles.

Given that the book covers the opening years of World War II, when Orwell was living in London, I was disappointed to find that surprisingly little of the book involved the w
...more
Kathy
The Essays, Journalism and Letters of Orwell, My Country Right or Left was an interesting writing collection by George Orwell. This collection wasn’t the book wasn’t what I expected. Then the last half the book with is wartime diary was just flat out fascinating.

I won’t lie, when I read George Orwell in high school, it left a mark on me. I ate up both 1984 and Animal Farm. The critique he had on society was so interesting and dark. So I was interested in reading more from him. I requested this b
...more
Rob
How did it feel to be involved in WW2? This book gives an insight into one mans war namely George Orwell. He of course is not an average or neutral observer but to have have someones reactions recorded as they occurred is always more interesting than hindsight or hearsay.
Orwell's essays are an absolute pleasure to read. He must be one of the best essayists in the English language. They (the essays) are an exposition of clarity and style which any writer of any kind should have as something to me
...more
Matthew
If Volume 1 was a portrait of the writer as a young socialist, then part two is when George Orwell goes to war.

It is a little difficult to tell, since the four volumes are misleadingly referred to as Orwell’s collected non-fiction whilst admitting to some editing and omission in the introduction. However, what appears to come across is that Orwell has almost a monomania in his writing about whatever issue is most current in his mind.

At the time of the Spanish Civil War, then this preoccupied hi
...more
J.T Wootton
This essay sums up Orwell's feelings after World War One. His ability to pick out moments in history and describe, at least from his perspective, the mindset of others in his position is key to many of these shorter essays. For the most part it seems to be about the transition of the memories held by those involved in war efforts in comparison to those who were not involved in them. He cites his own experience of how trendy pacifism was for him but how it inevitably left him cold when he interac ...more
Joe
Sep 27, 2007 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fascists
With Hitler and the Nazis bombing down his door in this second volume of essays and letters, Orwell manages to still knock out a few (477 pages worth) peices on England, the War, and the potential end of literature as we know it. It's the blitz baby and George is right there taking it all down in his diary, letters and essays as he reflects on Shakespeare, the Spanish Civil War and tea. Whether you are a facist, communist or just plain British, Orwell has something to say to you.
blake
When I started this Orwell was my favorite author ever, and one volume of his most personal writings have done nothing to change that status. His typically clear, incisive prose is on full display, while his perpetually calm and reasoned attitude -- especially when speaking about his contemporaries -- continues to give him an aura of being the only adult in a room full of squabbling children. It's very hard to disagree with him when he uses such plain logic.

Orwell's opinion on other writers and
...more
Ecoute Sauvage
One of the most pitilessly, admirably, honest observers ever. Was early to join the now-unpopular school of thought that held Winston Churchill to be a coward (viz: Gallipoli) and a fraud (viz: loading arms on to the Lusitania, a civilian passenger ship). His integrity shines throughout.
Patrick Butler
One of the few true democratic liberals,a man with conscience,and aware always about power and how it absolutely corrupts...One of the great political thinkers. His takes on
Literature and the war are just so good.He was wrong about a few things,but right on the important stuff.
Mary Catelli
More essays than letters, unlike the first volume -- an interesting view into the era. Ends with about a hundred pages of diary.

Has reviews, here, too, though more general than the last volume, which had a number that concentrated on the Spanish Civil War. Has rather more general essays on literature and writing. In one, he decries the practice of degrading writers because they hold the wrong opinions -- though a few essays earlier, he is writing on Yeats, who described a hierarchical society wi
...more
J.M. Hushour
Given the period of this 2nd collection, it is hardly surprising that most of Orwell's writings here focus on the outbreak of WW II. The letters he wrote to the Partisan Review in America and the number of "war diary" entries certainly focus on this and are of only historical interest as a window into England's internal political situation at the time. There are though, as always,a number of gems: "Tolstoy and Shakespeare", "The Frontiers of Art & Propaganda", "The Art of Donald McGill" (a r ...more
Alf Chaiton
Everyone should read Orwell! You couldn't be spending your time better.
Malcolm
Much of what Orwell was writing then could be written now.

A fantastic collection of not simply how the country was but also an insight into understanding what we are today
Craig J.
My Country Right or Left 1940-1943: The Collected Essays Journalism & Letters of George Orwell (Collected Essays Journalism and Letters of George Orwell) by Sonia Orwell (2000)
Alex
Didn't read the whole book since political journalism is the last thing I'm interested in. But the lit crit part of it is great.
Linda B
BRILLIANT essays. I love Orwell and one day hope to own the four volumes of this.
Guy
Nov 04, 2009 Guy is currently reading it
Great book to dip into for a quick read.
Christopher
For the true groupie of Orwell.
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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.

In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a a police officer with the Indian Imperia
...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 totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.” 12 likes
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