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The Road to Wigan Pier

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,447 Ratings  ·  411 Reviews

In the 1930s Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. He went beyond his assignment to investigate the employed as well-”to see the most typical section of the English working class.” Foreword by Victor Gollancz.

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Published January 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published March 8th 1937)
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Riku Sayuj

The Road to Wigan Pier & 1984: A Parallel Analysis

Commissioned fortuitously in the period when Socialism was on the retreat and Fascism on the rise, Orwell must already have begun to glimpse the world which he was to envision with vigorous clarity in ‘1984’. This review is a dual review then, of ‘1984’ and of ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’.

Written ostensibly as a documentary-report on the life of the working classes in the industrial towns of england, Orwell uses his reportage to investigate two c
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Hadrian
The Road to Wigan Pier is a book in two parts, both observant and fiery. This is one of Orwell's lesser-known works, but still one of his better ones. It surpasses Burmese Days and might almost reach Homage to Catalonia.

The first part is a visit to the coal-mining areas up north, and a chronicling of the miners' lives. It's reminiscent of Engels' Conditions of the English Working Class, but with less statistics and more coal mining, and the social conditions of the miners themselves. Here, he ha
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Darwin8u
Nov 12, 2015 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
“I am a degenerate modern semi-intellectual who would die if I did not get my early morning cup of tea and my New Statesman every Friday. Clearly I do not, in a sense, 'want' to return to a simpler, harder, probably agricultural way of life. In the same sense I don't 'want' to cut down on my drinking, to pay my debts, to take enough exercise, to be faithful to my wife, etc. etc. But in another and more permanent sense I do want these things, and perhaps in the same sense I want a civilization in ...more
B0nnie
Feb 15, 2012 B0nnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Road to Wigan Pier FAQs

Back in the days when I hung out in that other dimension called usenet, I wrote several *FAQS* for alt.books.george-orwell (alas, now dead, a repository for villainous spam - RIP):

Q & A with George Orwell:


B: Will you tell us about the Brookers, the people with whom you stayed for a while in Wigan?

O: Of course - mind if I smoke? - Mrs Brooker was too ill to do anything except eat stupendous meals, and Mr Brooker was a dark, small-boned, sour, Irish-looking man, and
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Barry Pierce
Alright Georgie I get what you're saying, being poor in the 30s was really fucking awful. I loved the way you wrote about the industrialisation of the north of England and your views on a Socialism and the such but ugh why did you write this one so... unenjoyably? It felt like I was reading a 200-page Guardian column. I had to force myself through certain parts, not because they were boring or anything but because of the way you went about writing this thing. The content is A+ but the experience ...more
MJ Nicholls
The squalid living and working conditions of 1930s Northern miners. A tract on socialism. Classic Georgie.
Tristessa
Jan 15, 2009 Tristessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the first half of The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell catalogues his participant/observation of the economically deprived North of England focusing on squalor, pollution and hardship during the Depression. Wigan Pier is a dystopic bleak vision of degrading capitalism - without his study, 1984 would not have existed. As political polemic in the second half, he provides the solution; Socialism. Orwell, fully aware of his own upper middle class prejudices, set to challenge his own feelings of disgust ...more
Kim
Feb 02, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Orwell was commissioned to write this book by his publisher Victor Gollancz, a campaigner for left-wing causes and the founder of the Left Book Club. It comprises two journeys. The first finds Orwell in investigative journalist mode, as he embarks on a physical journey amongst industrial workers in the economically depressed north of England, investigating and describing the causes and symptoms of poverty. The second is a journey of the mind, which takes the form of a long essay in which Orwell
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Jonfaith
Nov 25, 2012 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like Hemingway's lost satchel or Genet's samizdat manuscripts, I'll piece this together from jumbled memories. How's that for hubris?

The Road To Wigan Pier was amongst the best books I've read this year. The route established by Orwell is more sinuous than expected. He examines a lodging house and then travels to the pits themselves. He finds valor in those who toil. He doesn't patronize.

He ponders the unemployment issue in England. He busts myths. He unrolls lengths of statistics. He the
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Nahed.E

الكتاب الأول في هذه السنة ..
وهي القراءة الرابعة للرائع جورج أورويل
ولكن
....



أولا هي ليست رواية كما توقعت / أو كما آملت ..
هي جزء من سيرته الذاتية وسط مناجم الفحم ومتاعب العمال وسوء الحياة في لندن وحياة السخرة التي يعاني منها أصحاب الطبقة العاملة ..
فالكتاب جزآن .. جزء عن حياة العمال في مناجم الفحم ..
وهو كثير كثير التفاصيل .. للدرجة التي جعلتني أقفز فوق كثير من الفقرات ..
أما القسم الثاني .. فيتحدث فيه عن سيرته الذاتية ثم رأيه في الاشتراكية ..

حسناً .. ربما لم أستمتع بالكتاب كما آملت ..
لكن لا أنكر أن
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Greg
Oct 27, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best. Profoundly important work. Timeless relevance. Orwell's instilled personal middle class prejudices seemingly unconsciously expressed amid his objective insightful observations on the different class prejudices, as well as politics, work, hygiene, food nutrition, etc. are intriguing but don't diminish the relevance or value of this work.
To read again.
Priya
Mar 15, 2008 Priya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ken Loach wannabes, V-in-the making
I read this as a budding social revolutionary (!) in my days of high school rebellion so have fond memories of the author/book and find it difficult to slag him/it off.

That being said, I like Orwell's journalistic accounts (like this one and Burmese Days), I like his writing style as the crisp prose of a journalist shines through and I like his commitment to showing how, even in a fairly well-off society like Britain, there have always been people who are forgotten about.

It's not all about the
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Pink
This was definitely a book of two halves. The first section was reminiscent of Down and Out in Paris and London, although not as interesting. The second half was very representative of Orwell's essays, of which I've read most. So, where does that leave me feeling about this book? I didn't like it so much. I felt like I'd read most of it before and so that lessoned my enjoyment. I didn't learn anything knew here, but I still appreciated what Orwell had to say and think it's a worthwhile read if y ...more
Mona M. Kayed
Jul 06, 2015 Mona M. Kayed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

مبهرة !

في كلّ مرة أشرع فيها بالقراءة لأورويل أوطّن النفس مسبقاً على العالم الغريب الذي سيقحمني فيه بأسلوب لا يضاهيه فيه أحد ، مرة أنت تجوب شوارع باريس و لندن جائعاً مع المتشردين، و مرة أنت محبوس في علبة مكعبة يطلقون عليها اسم "بيت" و الأخ الأكبر يراقبك في أدق تفاصيلك ، و مرة أنت تهبط إلى طبقات الأرض الداخلية لتنقب عن الفحم و تعيش معاناة العمال و تتصبب معهم عرقهم (كما في هذه الرواية) ..

لن أتطرق إلى تفصيلات الكتاب إذ أن جزءاً كبيراً من متعة القراءة لأورويل أن تكتشف بنفسك هذه العوالم الخفية، لكنن
...more
Chris Dietzel
Nov 24, 2014 Chris Dietzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since reading and loving '1984' and 'Animal Farm' I've been looking for something of Orwell's that can compare. Although 'The Road to Wigan Pier' is nonfiction and tells of coal miners in England, for me it comes the closest to capturing his outrage at the world that I loved so much in his two classics. This book focuses on the hardships of the lower class--the biases they face, the need for liveable wages--and is incredibly relevant to what is going on in much of the world today.
Stephen
interesting book looking at the industrial towns of the late 1930's with poverty and poor housing and the second part looking at socialism and the future of the world in view of that current events
umberto
I'm rereading this wonderful, bitter narration of the poor in Wigan Pier in England eleven years before I was born (first published in 1937) briefly today. It's the sad aftermath for me to review this almost dry, damp copy due to the unexpected deluge that leaked into our Language Center on the ground floor after the heavy, steady rainfalls in the evening last Thursday (September 8). Therefore, on Friday our staff, officials and students helped us move stacks of books, course sheets, academic dr ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
I took the Road to Wigan Pier way too fastly.
I drove by night through the 215 milestones between the beginning and the end of this trip.

I have just parked for a few minutes halfway on the blank space between part I and part II. I turned off the engine and the headlights, had a little nap, restarted and drove straight to the very last page.

I should have not been in a hurry. And yet I couldn't go any slower. Curiosity pushed me to run, to accelerate. And in that speed some details faded away, w
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Mohammed Hussam
الكتاب من قسمين:
في القسم الأول يتناول أوريل حياة الطبقة العاملة في شمال إنكلترا، يصف معاناتهم والظروف المعيشية الصعبة، وعملهم في مناجم الفحم..
في الجزء الثانية يناقش الإشتراكية -كضرورة تاريخية لمواجهة الفاشية، وهو هنا يحاول تسليط الضوء على الأشتراكيين ونقد الفكر الأشتراكي نقداً يسهم في تطويره..
بشكل عام لم أتفاعل مع الكتاب، لأنه يتطرق إلى مواضيع لا تستهويني، ولكني اعتقد أنه مهم مفيد جداً لفهم الحياة في إنكلترا ما قبل الحرب العالمية،..
Sho
I first read this a long time ago when I was doing economics A-level at school. My teacher recommended it.

At the time I knew nearly nothing about how the world works, least of all about politics, economics and sociology. And of course I found it shocking.

A quick note about the book. It's basically in two parts. The first is a study of how mining families lived in the north of England in the 1930s, so, during the great depression. In a way it's an update of Marx and Engles' study of the English w
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Anthony Buckley
One of the best pieces of reportage I have encountered. Orwell discovers the English working class and, with kindness but without sentimentality, he describes what he sees.
Kathy (another great etcetera)
Nope, nope, nope. That's a DNF, sorry. Either that or a huuuge reading slump.
Perry Whitford
May 26, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'In order that Hitler may march the goose-step, that the Pope may denounce Bolshevism, that the cricket crowds may assemble at Lords, that the poets may scratch one another’s backs, coal has got to be forthcoming'.

Hard to believe that now isn't it? Yet even harder to believe still, even back then in the 1930s, is the truly appalling conditions under which that coal was produced in those mining towns.

In the true spirit of investigative journalism, in part 1 Orwell decides to live the life of thos
...more
Yaser Maadat
Apr 23, 2015 Yaser Maadat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يستعرض اورويل في بداية هذا الكتاب تجربته بين عمال المناجم في ويغان و يصف المعاناة التي يعيشها هؤلاء العمال في ظروف معيشية صعبة واجور غير مناسبة و مخاطر جمة يواجهونها كل يوم عمل،يتحدث اورويل من وجهة نظر برجوازية متضامنة مع هؤلاء العمال لما شاهده بأم عينه من أوضاع صعبة يعيشونها و هو ما ينقله للحديث عن حياته كفتى من الطبقة الوسطى سعى دائما للاقتراب من طبقة العمال و لكنه لم يكن منهم في يوم.
في القسم الثاني من من الكتاب يوجه اورويل سهامه تجاه الاشتراكية ناقدا لها ليس من باب العداء و انما من باب أنها ا
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Dane Cobain
Apr 16, 2016 Dane Cobain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orwell is a cracking writer, and he’s close to his best here. The Road to Wigan Pier reflects Orwell’s working class upbringing in Yorkshire, and he does, of course, highlight a lot of the sociological issues of the time. It might not be as immediately relevant to our modern times, but once you start to think about it, a lot of the parralells become clear.

One could classify the book as an autobiography, but it doesn’t really focus on Orwell’s life as such – he’s not really the hero of the story,
...more
Johanne
Apr 03, 2015 Johanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that the thing I found most interesting about this book is how many of the concerns and issues raised still have contemporary relevance. He talks about the middle classes describing the feckless poor who don't want to work - a not unfamiliar sound if you live in Cameron's Britain. He tells how the middle classes accuse the unemployed of wasting their money on junk food and crap (in the 30's that was white bread, sugar and canned meat!) instead of buying ingredients and making nutritious ...more
Nigeyb
Sep 10, 2012 Nigeyb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've recently read quite a few books by George Orwell (The Clergyman's Daughter, Coming Up For Air, Keep and The Aspidistra Flying), having previously read Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm and Homage to Catalonia, and am rapidly coming to the conclusion that he's one of my favourite writers. This was only the second time I've sampled his non-fiction.

Before I discuss my thoughts on the book I want to mention how much I enjoy Orwell's writing style. In his essay Politics and the English Language
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Guy Portman
Jan 19, 2013 Guy Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This highly acclaimed and controversial book came into existence as a result of a left-wing publisher by the name of Victor Gollancz commissioning Orwell to make a contribution to what he described as the ‘condition of England’. Gollancz later decided to include the resulting work in his Left Book Club series.

The first half of the book sees Orwell traveling through industrial Northern Britain, detailing and commenting on the working-class life that he comes across, beginning with his experiences
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Jerome Peterson
I have read several works by George Orwell. All of them have created a stir in my thoughts. I hope you have felt that stirring too. "The Road to Wigan Pier" has continued the rustle. Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. The unpredictable Orwell went further and investigate the employed as well. A striking, haunting account of living conditions that makes you gasp. Orwell spreads his unique dry British humor th ...more
Linda
Jul 17, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading The Road to Wigan Pier got me roused up about a lot of things. First among them is to read more George Orwell. His writing is analytical, compassionate, clear, witty, honest, everything I love about great nonfiction. His description of coal miners's lives is exemplary journalism by today's standards, and this is commissioned work he did when he was only in his 20s. At the halfway point in the book, Orwell turns to the subject of socialism. He looks at it from all different perspectives, ...more
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Bright Young Things: September 2012 - The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell 10 33 Sep 14, 2012 04:34PM  
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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
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“A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion....Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.” 54 likes
“The train bore me away, through the monstrous scenery of slag-heaps, chimneys, piled scrap-iron, foul canals, paths of cindery mud criss-crossed by the prints of clogs. This was March, but the weather had been horribly cold and everywhere there were mounds of blackened snow. As we moved slowly through the outskirts of the town we passed row after row of little grey slum houses running at right angles to the embankment. At the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stones, poking a stick up the leaden waste-pipe which ran from the sink inside and which I suppose was blocked. I had time to see everything about her—her sacking apron, her clumsy clogs, her arms reddened by the cold. She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second in which I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever-seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us,’ and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. She knew well enough what was happening to her—understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there in the bitter cold, on the slimy stones of a slum backyard, poking a stick up a foul drain-pipe.” 19 likes
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