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Homage to Catalonia

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  42,599 ratings  ·  2,537 reviews
In 1936 George Orwell travelled 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 own experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 22nd 1980 by Harcourt, Inc.(Harvest Book) (first published 1938)
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Allan MacLeod Regarding the first part of your question: as somebody who had a few years of experience before the internet swallowed everything, my recommendation i…moreRegarding the first part of your question: as somebody who had a few years of experience before the internet swallowed everything, my recommendation is to get your book and isolate yourself in a library, cafe, or similar. Turn your phone on silent and leave it in your backpack while you read. Make regular meditation and mindfulness a habit so that you can take ten minutes to clear your mind of static when necessary.

Also, I find that my e-reader is a more comfortable and ergonomically pleasing way to read (especially for heavier volumes) that ultimately reduces distractions while I read and lets me read longer, more often, and in more places.(less)
Cameron In my version it has 12 chapters with two apendix chapters, the two other chapters are there two explain the political situation, with little or o nar…moreIn my version it has 12 chapters with two apendix chapters, the two other chapters are there two explain the political situation, with little or o narrative, they serve to explain the complex political situation within Catalonia and the situation of Orwell's POUM comrades(less)

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Emily May
“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

George Orwell is one of my favourite writers. 1984 and Animal Farm were game-changers for me when I first picked them up at 12 years old, and they fostered an interest in politics that would stay with me for the rest of my life. Homage to Catalonia never quite affected me in the same way, but I decided it was time to do a reread of it as an adult. In July, I will be visiting Cat
...more
Bill Kerwin
Aug 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, biography

This book is justly famous for its disillusioned account of how the Communist Party—in its eagerness to defeat Franco--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 are poor, ma
...more
Stephen
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Homage To Catalonia, George Orwell
Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell's personal account of his experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The first edition was published in the United Kingdom in 1938.
The book begins in late December 1936. Orwell describes the atmosphere in Barcelona as it appears to him at this time. "The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing ... It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where t
...more
Lisa
"If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: 'To fight against Fascism,' and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: 'Common decency."

Sometimes, when I get particularly frustrated with that strange idealist in me that chose to work with teenage education, I think of George Orwell and his fight in the Civil War in Spain. He knew at some point that the war would be lost, and that both sides in it had major issues, flaws and most of all a
...more
Steven Godin
Always preferred Orwell as a writer of nonfiction, and Homage to Catalonia is most certainly up there with the best of it. Didn't think much of Animal Farm, and haven't even bothered to read 1984 yet, which, to be honest, doesn't really interest me anyway. What does interest me, a lot more, is his voice in the real world. I think now, having read this, Down & out in Paris & London, and some of his brilliant essays, he's simply a great writer. Didn't think I'd be saying that after Animal Farm. Wh ...more
Greg
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
fourtriplezed
Page 127 the author states that while watching a “fat Russian” it was the first time that he had seen “ …a person whose profession was telling lies - unless one counts Journalists” I wonder what the sublimely brilliant writer of this observation, George Orwell, would think if he was seeing the accusations of fake news (lies) that is routinely hurled around today. He himself warns against his own bias while writing about his time in Spain. Trust nothing is the mantra. Indeed.

I first read Orwell
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Ted
3 ½ stars.

Now, after many false starts …

In my first attempt at reviewing this, I began by saying “This is a first rate source for information … on the Spanish Civil War.” Wrong!!! It really is a very poor source of information on the SCW. Because it is on a very personal level, and is mostly seen from a very limited and narrow point of view, this is really an almost useless book for learning anything historically significant about the war.

So, let’s start over.

Why is this book so famous?

The
...more
Sarah (Presto agitato)
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
Amalia Gavea
“The human louse somewhat resembles a tiny lobster, and he lives chiefly in your trousers. Short of burning all your clothes there is no known way of getting rid of him. Down the seams of your trousers he lays his glittering white eggs, like tiny grains of rice, which hatch out and breed families of thier own at horrible speed. I think pacifists might find it helpful to illustrate thier pamphlets with enlarged photographs of lice. Glory of war indeed! In war all solderies are lousy, at the le ...more
7jane
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
music: Durutti Column - "Street Fight"
(also because there's a small, POUM-hostile extremist-anarchist group called Friends Of Durruti mentioned in the book, who were used as part of false-information war by the government)

(my book has intros by Hochschild and Trilling, both very excellent. Two chapters of the book have been appendixed to the end, which I also think as a wise choice, since both are rather political side-comments 1: why and how Communists suppressed the smaller leftist groups 2: a
...more
Roy Lotz
I have the most evil memories of Spain, but I have very few bad memories of Spaniards. I only twice remember even being seriously angry with a Spaniard, and on each occasion, when I look back, I believe I was in the wrong myself.

Autobiographies and memoirs are, I think, the best books to read on vacation. Not only are they light, easy, and entertaining, but they’re usually not hard to put down. This is important because, if you’re like me, you may end up spending your whole vacation with you
...more
Jan-Maat
"The fact is that every war suffers a kind of progressive degradation with every month that it continues, because such things as individual liberty & a truthful press are simply not compatible with military efficiency" (p.172)

The opening chapters in particular lead me to imagine Basil Fawlty going abroad, or possibly the travel programmes of my youth, the accommodation is terrible, the way the food and wine are served is unhygienic, everything is disorganised and late, the Spaniards don't even s
...more
Kim
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
B0nnie
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Ian
A re-read for me of a book I first read in my early twenties. I recall it made a big impression on me at the time, due to its description of the infighting on the Government side during the Spanish Civil War.

Orwell was in his thirties when he went to Barcelona and had already been everything from a Police Superintendent in colonial Burma to a tramp sleeping rough back in Britain. You couldn’t say he was lacking in knowledge of life, but he arrived in Spain with an idealistic impression of a war
...more
W
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: war
George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War,as part of the militia of a party,the P.O.U.M.

Ironically,the party was later declared illegal and after all his struggles on its behalf,Orwell had to flee Spain eventually,to avoid being imprisoned.

While Orwell,a foreigner,was taking such risks with his life in the war,a lot of people and places in Spain remained unaffected.As to why he was fighting in the war,Orwell gives his reason as "common decency."

The best part of the book describes the conditi
...more
Smiley
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this memoir-like book surprisingly interesting and readable in terms of his direct experience in the Spanish Civil War. I think George Orwell didn't try to be a hero there since he himself was gunned down by a shot through his throat one morning. He simply wrote, "The whole experience of being hit by a bullet is very interesting and I think it is worth describing in detail" (Chapter X, pp. 143-4)

However, his valor didn't diminish and he still kept writing based on his political ideology
...more
WILLIAM2
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book full of the stink and horror of war. The accounts of the Republic's assaults on the Falange, save for one instance, are pitiful and sickening. Descriptions, too, of Madrid during the conflict the likes of which I have not come across anywhere else. Exquisite and appalling. Read concurrently with Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War. ...more
Manny
Oct 01, 2017 marked it as to-read
Celebrity Death Match Special:
Homage to Catalonia versus 1984


Catalonia

No winner declared because match never took place
...more
Hanneke
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Orwell struck me as an extremely honest and sincere recorder of his war experiences in Spain in 1937. He showed himself a brave and fearless warrior for the good cause, fighting the Franco troops in the desolate mountain region in the northern province of Aragon. This is what he writes on the last page of his account after he succeeded to escape to France from Spain, seriously wounded and a wanted man. “This war, in which I played so ineffectual a part, has left me with memories that are ...more
John Wiswell
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Dean
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Possibly my favourite book ever. I couldn't put it down. This will not be the case for everyone but as I have always had an interest in the Spanish civil war I found Orwell's account brilliant and much better than regular Spanish civil war books. Orwell conveys with great clarity the boredom, confusion, and lies of the Spanish civil war. I would recommend anybody who wants to learn about the Spanish civil war (an extremely complex subject) to first look to this book.
Barbara
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War because he believed in democracy and was against fascism. He believed in the rights of the working class and human decency for all. His experiences in Spain only deepened these ideals.

In addition to Orwell's descriptions of his experiences in Spain while fighting with the P.O.U.M., I found Lionel Trilling's introduction fascinating and equally informative. Trilling pays homage to Orwell the man. According to Trilling, one of the leading critics of th
...more
Tristan
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* Read from the collection Homage to Catalonia / Down and Out in Paris and London*


It's slightly odd that today is the day that I finished Orwell's memoir of his service in the P.O.U.M. militia during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939). For it was on this day, the 20th of May, that Orwell was famously shot in the neck by a fascist sniper. I came across this little factoid during some personal research into the book and its history, so it was absolutely unplanned. Anyway, of course Orwell survived,
...more
Antonomasia
[4.5] (I listened to the UK audiobook read by Jeremy Northam.)

How else could this have been written? The central narrative of Homage to Catalonia was like glimpsing a platonic ideal of non-fiction reportage: the definitive, the default - which must be because Orwell has become an (the?) exemplar of good English style, filtered into countless other things I've read, from books to below-the-line newspaper comments. (Sometimes I can see the lineage: a friend whose writing sometimes sounds like Hitc
...more
B. P. Rinehart
"And I hope the account I have given is not too misleading. I believe that on such an issue as this no one is or can be completely truthful. It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes, and consciously or unconsciously everyone writes as a partisan. In case I have not said this somewhere earlier in the book I will say it now: beware of my partisanship, my mistakes of fact, and the distortion inevitably caused by my having seen only one corner of even ...more
Andrew
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell, is the authors account of the Spanish Civil War, as a participant for the POUM forces - a Republican aligned militant group. Orwell writes about the tribulations of the war, the internal politicking, and the hardship of living on the front. He is also heavily critical of Communist forces in the war, and the internal divisions he believes they orchestrated to try and take greater executive control of the Republican government.

Orwell writes a truthful, blow
...more
Alice Poon
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, history
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
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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 police officer with the Indian Imperial
...more

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