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The Road to Wigan Pier

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  10,779 Ratings  ·  675 Reviews
A searing account of George Orwell’s experiences of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, slum housing, mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unem ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 18th 1972 by Mariner Books (first published March 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
...more
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
...more
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
B0nnie
Jan 06, 2012 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
...more
Darwin8u
Oct 03, 2011 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
Nigeyb
Aug 27, 2012 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
...more
Jan-Maat
This is a book of two halves. The second half from chapter eight onwards is autobiographical and explains how his life and experience led him to the experiences of the first half, as he says the road from Mandalay to Wigan is a long one and the reasons for taking it are not immediately clear (p.106), the suggestion is that this book is a prosaic response to Kipling's poem The Road to Mandalay., from empire to domestic politics, from Imperialism to Socialism. His approach to the latter and the pu ...more
Deniz Balcı
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ingiliz-edebiyat
George Orwell pek hakim olduğum bir yazar değil, daha önce birkaç kitabını okuma fırsatı bulmuştum. Bu kitabı da bir görevden kaynaklı okudum. Genel olarak inceleme kitaplarına eğer ki sanatla ilintili değilse pek yanaşmam; zira oldukça zorlanırım. 'Wigan İskelesi Yolu'nda da aynı şey oldu, cidden çok zorlandım.

Kitabın başlamasıyla birlikte ne denli büyük bir yazarın elinden çıktığını hemen kavrıyorsunuz. Orwell'in bir şeyler anlatma konusundaki yeteneği, bu eserine de yansımış. İlk 100 sayfayı
...more
Cphe
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in two distinctive parts I found the first to be the most interesting. Orwell painted a bleak picture of conditions for miners in the north of England. The working class didn't have it easy by any means. Dangerous working conditions, poor pay and even lesser prospects.......and then there were the slums. Visual and descriptive writing. Also enjoyed what Orwell had to say about some of his fellow authors and his take on world affairs. Interesting and informative.
MJ Nicholls
The squalid living and working conditions of 1930s Northern miners. A tract on socialism. Classic Georgie.
Owlseyes




"You and I and the editor of the Times Lit. Supp., and the poets and the Archbishop of Canterbury and Comrade X, author of Marxism for Infants–all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward with arms and belly muscles of steel."

"Every miner has blue scars on his nose and forehead, and will carry them to his death".

"All the people I saw in these places, especially t
...more
Tristessa
Jan 15, 2009 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
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
...more
Jonfaith
Nov 21, 2012 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
...more
Kim
Jan 23, 2014 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
...more
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
Neli Krasimirova
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: don-quixote
Bu Orwell'ın okuduğum ilk non-fiction kitabı. Kurgu kitaplarını okumadan evvel deneyimlerini ve anılarını aktardığı bu kurgudışı kitapları okunmalı diye düşünmediğimi söylersem yalan olacaktır.

Öncelikle kitap Büyük Savaş (çünkü WWII henüz kopmadı) sonrası İngiltere'nin kuzeyindeki maden işçilerinin hayatlarının incelemesi olarak ele alınmış geniş bir gözlem. Hatta öyle geniş ki ikinci bölümünde bir sosyalizm eleştirisine evriliyor. -ki zaten yazar bunu kendi gözüyle görerek yazmak için yola çıkt
...more
Greg
Oct 17, 2014 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.
Andy
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and still relevant. The narration seemed wrong at first, but I think was perfect. This book is a bizarre mix of raw statistics, moving stories, humorous opinions, and clever political strategies.
Katy
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book, it’s a non-fiction about the industrial heartlands of the north of England in the 1930s, focusing particularly on the working class, the coal miners in particular. George Orwell spent a lot of time living amongst the people and observing the standard of living. It was just fascinating and made me realise that some things truly never change. Orwell’s comments on the housing crisis, the prevalence of alcoholism, gambling, and unhealthy food, and how welfare was influencing ho ...more
Hesam Ghaeminejad
این اثر به دو بخش تقسیم می¬شود، بخش اول به بررسی زندگی طبقه¬ی کارگر به طور مشخص کارگران معدن در شمال انگلستان و در بخش دوم به معرفی، نقد و دفاع از اندیشه¬های سوسیالیستی می¬پردازد، این دو بخش در مجموع 13 فصل را در بر می¬گیرد که 7 فصل ابتدایی آن، شرایط زندگی کارگران فصلی در مهمانخانه ها ، وضعیت شغلی کارگران معدن، مسکن، خوراک، هزینه¬ها، بهداشت و بیکاری عمومی مردم این ناحیه به خصوص ویگان، لیدز ولیورپول را بررسی می¬کند.
در بخش دوم اورول فاصله طبقاتی موجود در انگلستان را تبیین می¬کند، پس از معرفی فاصله
...more
Mona M. Kayed
Aug 20, 2014 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
Ashley
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-read
Informative and thought-provoking with loads to digest.
Josh Caporale
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I have previously read three of Orwell's books: Animal Farm, 1984, and Keep the Aspidistra Flying. I read this book based on the recommendation of Larry from the show in order to prepare for a discussion about this book for the show, thus I made it through my fourth book by Orwell and I will say that this was among the more challenging of reads. This book is a nonfictional account that harps on Orwell's political philosophies regarding his support for Socialism. By Socialism, he means a
...more
Priya
Dec 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Pink
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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،..
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
G.R. Hewitt
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting and insightful read and though it was written some eighty years ago it is remarkably current, timeless in many ways. There is much to stop and ponder over; for example:
Here you come upon the important fact that every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed.
Orwell pulled some things into all-too-sharp a focus for some tastes back then, which are just as challenging and eye-averting today in our so-called 'inc
...more
LindaH
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
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 35 Sep 14, 2012 04:34PM  
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26,089 followers
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 police officer with the Indian Imperial
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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.” 63 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.” 27 likes
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