Topic: Must Read
In response to a reader’s request, here are the five books by George Orwell that you must read, assuming that your acquaintance with his work is limited to Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four.
The Road to Wigan Pier (1937): Orwell’s study of unemployment in Britain and his analysis of why so many people rejected the socialist solution. Commissioned by the Left Book Club, this book caused a furor on the British left.
Homage to Catalonia (1938): Orwell’s memoir of his service as a volunteer on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War (during which he suffered a bad wound in the throat) remains one of the best books on that conflict.
Coming Up for Air (1939): This novel, written on the eve of the Second World War, looks back through the eyes of an English Everyman to an England that had already vanished, and forward to the grim years of war that lay ahead.
The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius (1941): Orwell’s extended essay on the character of the English nation, the impact of war on the English social system and the prospects for a future revolution. This one can be found on line.
A Collection of Essays: Includes “Such, Such Were the Joys…” (his memoir of school days), “Shooting an Elephant,” “The Art of Donald McGill,” “Politics and the English Language,” “Looking Back on the Spanish War,” “Reflections on Gandhi,” plus his well-known essays on Dickens and Kipling. Also includes “England Your England,” the first part of The Lion and the Unicorn. (It should be noted that almost all of Orwell’s essays are available on line. Just Google a title.)