Homage to Catalonia
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Homage to Catalonia

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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  14,627 ratings  ·  894 reviews
In 1936 Orwell went to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 22nd 1980 by Harcourt, Inc.(Harvest Book) (first published 1938)
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Steve
HEADLINE: For students, here the politics is explained.

For you students who have this great book imposed upon you in a syllabus, here is the best help I can give you with regard to Chapters V and XI, which are in some editions included only as Appendices.

It is interesting to note that at the outset Orwell himself was nonplussed by the alphabet soup of the political situation in Spain. At first he was at a loss when confronted with the idea of right wing communism as you probably are. It was only...more
Greg
1. Homage to Catalonia has the distinction of being on my mental to-read list for longer than any other book. I've wanted to read this book longer than any of the people who elbowed or punched me in the face this week have been alive. I figured after almost twenty and half years I should finally read it.

I've owned the book for over a decade.

I have no clue what book now currently holds the distinction book I've wanted to read for the longest time but haven't.

2. When I was a senior in high school...more
B0nnie
Orwell in Spain, the tall guy standing in the middle 1937
Another *FAQ* I wrote from back in the day in usenet for alt.books.george-orwell

Mr. Orwell has kindly granted me an interview regarding his book, Homage to Catalonia

B: There has been some talk about the Spanish Civil War lately, perhaps inspired by the recent movie El Laberinto del Fauno . This war was a labyrinth as well: sorting out the various factions and who did what to whom certainly is quite a chore.

But first things first. Could you describe your ensemble - you are wearing some unu...more
Kim


Should anyone want to understand why George Orwell, a life long socialist, developed the antipathy to the Soviet Union which informed his best known novels Animal Farm and 1984, then this is the book to read.

When Orwell travelled to Spain in December 1936, intending to fight fascism and write about the Spanish Civil War, he stepped into a complex and murky political situation. The left-wing forces supporting the Republican government against the fascist forces led by Franco had different and co...more
Sarah (Warning: Potentially Off-Topic)
I have always found the Spanish Civil War confusing. After reading Homage to Catalonia, I at least feel that I was justified in my confusion. On the surface, of course, it was a conflict between Franco’s Fascists and the democratic Republican government, but it was far more complicated than that. When Orwell arrived in Spain to fight on the Republican side with the P.O.U.M. militia, a P.S.U.C. position was pointed out to him and he was told “Those are the Socialists” to which he responded, “Aren...more
Chris
Jul 04, 2008 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: journalists
Orwell left England in 1936 and spend six months fighting fascism in Spain - actually fighting fascism, like, throwing grenades and living in trenches, and being shot at, and crawling across 'no man's land' in the mud. He was a member of P.O.U.M., 'Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista', or the Workers Party of Marxist Unification. Orwell was not a Marxist, but a strident opponent of Franco's fascist forces. The book, like his 'Road to Wigan Pier', is a collection of Orwell's observations told...more
Bill  Kerwin

This book is justly famous for its disillusioned account of how the Communist Party—in its eagerness to defeat Franco's fascism--betrayed the successful anarchist experiment in Catalonia for the sake of expedience, how it executed and imprisoned its anarchist and socialist comrades for the sake of a temporary alliance with the bourgeois.

I found all this very interesting, but have to admit that the real reason I liked the book so much was for its gritty account of war on the cheap, where guns ar...more
Asma awadh
لطالما كانت الحرب الأهلية الإسبانية موضوعاً محيراً بالنسبة لي كنت أضعها دائماً ضمن خانة المواضيع المهمة والواجب قرائتها, كنت لا أترك رواية تتحدث ولو بشكل بسيط عن تلك الحرب الا وقد أشتريتها وهذا سبب قرائتي لكتب كاميلو خوسيه ثيلا ومحاولة قراءة لمن تقرع الأجراس لـ ارنست همنغواي لكن لم استطع من إكمالها حتى الآن ,إلى ان اتى هذا الكتاب الشافي ,كانت رؤيتي لتلك الحرب رؤية سطحية جمهوريين من حزب اليسار يصارعون فرانكو المدعوم من قبل الأنظمة الفاشية في المنطقة فقط بعد القراءة اتضحت الصورة أكثر صحيح انها ظلت...more
Chrissie
I find the Spanish Civil War confusing. Repeatedly I am given different interpretations and different explanations of the events. I have tried to get some understanding by reading many different books. This book is another added to all the others. I have found no one book that explained it all, with a clear overview.

This book cannot be considered an explanation of this war; it was published nine months after Orwell left Spain, and so the war was still not over. He was there from December 1936 to...more
John Wiswell
Jun 22, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Literary readers, history readers, humanitarians, people who are politically jaded
As important as Animal Farm and 1984 are, Orwell was probably a better non-fiction writer than a fiction writer. In telling true events he is moved to outright explain his feelings and beliefs in perhaps less quotable, but far more important fashion than his fiction. You almost have to read his descriptions of the Spanish people in this book to truly appreciate the coldness of 1984's characters. Dealing with real people and real struggle he wrote his truly most memorable passages - such as why h...more
Alice Poon
This is George Orwell's vivid account of his six-month (from December 1936 to June 1937) direct involvement in the Spanish Civil War. Other than recounting action-packed combative episodes on the war frontier and treacherous street-fighting scenes in Barcelona, the author also gives a clear-eyed analysis of the mind-boggling multi-faction political strife that prevailed. This essentially boils down to a three-sided struggle between the pro-Franco Fascists (prone to feudalism), the Russian-commis...more
Ted
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lorenzo Berardi
Reading anything by Orwell is always worth and rewarding.
And "Homage to Catalonia" makes no exception.
As someone pointed out somewhere the way Orwell understood and described Spain surpasses by far what Hemingway wrote pretty much in the same years about the same country.

But while Hemingway spent his Spanish time in a sort of cosmopolitan way drinking, waking up late, watching bullfighting, munching tapas and generally having fun (Fiesta!), Orwell was freezing in trenches, picking up cigarette...more
Stephanie Sun
Julian Barnes once defined history as “that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” (The Sense of an Ending)

True and yet not true. There is an objective true past, though it is not knowable in the entirety, only in pieces.

This is Orwell's account of his experiences fighting in the Spanish Civil War as part of the P.O.U.M., a worker's party later betrayed by Soviet secret police who infiltrated the right-leaning faction of the an...more
Jim
For some reason, I thought I had read George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia years ago, but it appears I did not. Most likely, I got bored by one of the two political chapters and probably stopped reading. Now, I find both the biographical and the political matter both to be excellent; and I see clearly how Orwell's experience fighting with the P.O.U.M. (Workers' Party of Marxist Unification) militia in northeast Spain made possible the great essays such as "Politics and the English Language" and s...more
فـــــــدوى
هل أنت من متابعي الدوريات الاوروبيه عموما ...والدوري الأوروبي خصوصاً...!
إن كنت منهم او كنت مثلي من الذين يشاهدون المبارايات أضطرارا وتحت وطأه الضغط الاسري او للنجاة من الغباءات الاخرى المعروضه ع شاشه التلفاز ...فمؤكد تصادف الأمر وحضرت مره نهايئات كانت تقام بين الفريق الملكي الاسباني وفريق برشلونه ...
إن كنت كذلك فأهنيك لقد تابعت النسخه الرياضيه من الحرب الاهليه الاسبانيه

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ربما الحرب الأهليه واحده من المعضلات في التاريخ الحديث عصية الفهم ...فأنت أمام ثورة حقيقيه بكل الاركان رفض حتى مؤيدوها أن...more
Ben Babcock
It’s not very often that I commend a blurb. I prefer to mock them, especially for their brevity or generic flavour—fantasy and science fiction are particularly guilty of this. For Homage to Catalonia I can make an exception: my edition has a blurb on the back cover from Antony Beevor, who calls this “an unrivalled picture of the rumours, suspicions and treachery of civil war.” This describes the book perfectly.

A couple of burdens of ignorance to confess before we begin here. Firstly, I had no id...more
Kevin
Review – Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Homage to Catalonia is the best war book I’ve ever read. It is both entertaining and honest, and has little to do with the partisan bickering that composes much of the book’s background.

Orwell went to Barcelona in 1936 to report on the Spanish Civil War. He was so struck with the progress of the workers’ revolution there, the camaraderie and the hope, that he decided this state of affairs was worth defending, and enlisted with a militia unit. His unit...more
Johnny Waco
Homage to Catalonia is the fourth Orwell book I've read, after 1984, Animal Farm, and Burmese Days, and I've come to the conclusion that Orwell is an interesting, provocative writer, just not a particularly great one. Homage to Catalonia is a scattershot book, careening between political and historical analysis and personal episodes during the Spanish Civil War; without a doubt, the personal sections are much more compelling. For instance, the long (read: very long) chapter breaking down the var...more
Zanna
First read 2007
If this was history it did not feel like it... instead of being heroic one just had to stay at one's post, bored, dropping with sleep and completely uninterested as to what it was all about.

Orwell's straightforward style makes this memoir a particularly convincing indictment of the stupidity and senselessness of trench warfare. Soldiers huddle cold and hungry in filthy holes in the ground, occasionally taking a pot shot at a bunch of other soldiers who would be their neighbours, c...more
Andrew
Goddamn I love Orwell's nonfiction. I've been wanting to read this forever and finally just got around to it. This book, which covers Orwell's time fighting against Franco with the anarcho/socialist/communist coalition during the Spanish Civil War, is great. The narrative parts cover his boredom and frustration at the front (as boring as getting shot through the neck by a fascist can be anyway) and captures some fascinating glimpses of what a worker-run society might be like. There are also a co...more
Kevin
This is a re-read of Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell’s autobiographical adventure of experiencing the Spanish Civil War during late 1936 till mid-1937. George Orwell managed to get to Spain to fight for the Republicans against the Fascists with the British Independent Labour Party (the ILP) as he was refused by the Communists in Britain to go and fight with the International Brigades. I think this is one of his best journalistic novels; his descriptions of the Aragon front in Catalonia are re...more
David
I like my books pre-ISBN orange-spined Penguin paperbacks. I love to find a bookmark from previous owners; old hotel receipts, bus tickets, corners of newspaper. The best thing is when it is a letter. My "Homage to Catalonia" included:

"26 December 1966

Dear Isabel,

So sorry Charles & I have such altercations in front of you but his mind has been filled with such falsehoods! One day he will see the light! I should have got on with my case a long time ago!

How very cold it was yesterday!

I hope yo...more
Michael
The story of about six months Orwell spent as a soldier in one of the Spanish Republican militias in 1936-37. The fighting was almost nonexistent -- chiefly holding action through the winter -- and so most of the book is a dutiful chronicle of a dull time. Descriptions of lice and soldier bathroom habits are mingled with discussion of the many splinter groups of the anarchists, socialists, and other workers' parties that were trying to wrest power from both the then-current leftist government an...more
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell's account of his experiences as a volunteer on the republican side during the Spanish Civil War. But it's not just another memoir. No, it's far more. For it marks a decisive stage in his progress as a writer and a thinker. Indeed, if one wanted to understand the roots behind the major themes in both Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four this book is essential reading.

Orwell, who had developed a general but rather unfocused sympathy for socialism, came to Spain...more
David
Aug 26, 2007 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Deluded leftists.
A glimpse into a pocket of war as various conflicting powers (try to) take claim of a newly set anarchist state, following a popular uprising in 1936 Spain.

George Orwell conscientiously; and later coincidently, sets himself among the more anarchist faction (P.O.U.M), working his way through the ranks of a rag-tag organisation battling off Fascism (Franco), Communism (directed by Russia), the Nazis and British imperial interest.

Tedious and uneventful trench warfare add to the increasing propagand...more
Quân Khuê
Thế quái nào mà trên bìa cuốn này lại có dòng giới thiệu là "du ký". Thế hóa ra cuốn này cùng thể loại với Một mình ở châu Âu à? :)

Tôi không đặc biệt thích các tiểu thuyết của G.Orwell. Tất nhiên tôi hiểu giá trị của Trại súc vật hay 1984. Nhưng cái giá trị đấy là một cái gì đó khác hơn giá trị văn chương.

Tôi kỳ vọng nhiều hơn ở Catalonia - Tình yêu của tôi. Tôi muốn thấy sự vỡ mộng của Orwell nó phũ phàng hơn, đau đớn hơn. Tất nhiên như thế đã phũ, đã đau rồi, nhưng tôi mường tượng nó phải hơn...more
Jens
Orwell's description of his experiences - while fighting against fascism - during the Spanish Revolution was brought to my attention by Noam Chomsky, who refers to Homage to Catalonia as an "heartwarming" account of the Spanish Civil war.
Whether Orwell's story is any more (or less) accurate than the many other accounts of that period in history out there, should be checked against facts (if they can be procured) and is not for me to decide here. At the very least Orwell makes no secret about whe...more
Jay
My first exposure to the Spanish Civil War was through the pages of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. I read that Hemingway classic in 1956 as a sophomore in high school, following it with a viewing of a dramatization on CBS’s Playhouse 90. In 1956, seen through Hemingway (and through John Frankenheimer’s dramatic, live television adaptation of the novel), the war was a battle between the autocratic Nationalists including the Fascists, on one side, and the democratic Republicans including the Communist...more
Melissa Rudder
After reading the uplifting Death in Venice in excited preparation for my Mediterranean cruise, I decided to keep with the light, romantic tone and read Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil War. Because what better way to prepare for a romantic dream vacation than reading about disease and war? "Happy anniversary, honey. Let me whisper sweet nothings about a tense standoff that occurred here in Barcelona or about Orwell getting shot in the throat." I am the queen of...more
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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 Burmese Days

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“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.” 258 likes
“When I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on.” 16 likes
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