The Road to Wigan Pier

The Road to Wigan Pier

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156767507
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/18/1972
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 67,438
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.

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The Road to Wigan Pier 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Carolfoasia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I learned about socialism, and Orwell's reflections as Hitler and Mussolini were on the rise. Fascinating!
edgeworth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After returning from Burma in 1927, George Orwell found that his beliefs and prejudices had been completely upturned after witnessing the evil brutality of the British imperial system. He decided he wanted ¿to escape not merely from imperialism but from every form of man¿s dominion over man. I wanted to submerge myself, to get right down among the oppressed, to be one of them and on their side against the tyrants.¿He ended up spending much time amongst the working class, and the result of that was his excellent book Down And Out In Paris And London, which I read last year and greatly enjoyed. The Road To Wigan Pier continues in this vein, but was written several years later after Orwell had established himself as a writer and distilled his outrage into a coherent socialist philosophy. He was commisioned by an organisation called the Left Book Club to carry out a report on the living conditions of the unemployed in England¿s industrial North. This investigation comprises the first half of the book; the second comprises Orwell¿s reflections upon that situation, and what must be done about it.I preferred the first half of the book to the second, as Orwell throws himself into the atrocious hovels and slums of Wigan and Sheffield, making his usual wry and witty observations. (¿There are also houses of what is called the `blind back¿ type, which are single houses, but in which the builder has omitted to put in a back door ¿ from pure spite, apparently.¿) Orwell¿s famous dedication to clear, concise writing makes him endlessly entertaining and readable, and he comes up with some marvellous similes.The second half of the book was less entertaining; it is largely a political essay, which I don¿t mind, but like many essays in Shooting An Elephant it is quite dated. Orwell wrote this book in the late 30s when socialism was still considered a feasible possibility in many parts of society, and while fascism was running rampant across Europe. He very clearly thought the next major struggle in the world would be between Fascism and Socialism, not Capitalism and Communism. Reading through it, I was mostly struck by how wrong Orwell turned out to be. He spends much of his time arguing why socialism had failed to gain many adherents, and one of his points is that many people disliked industrialism and mentally associated it with socialism. Orwell himself, while believing it to be ¿here to stay,¿ is also quite critical of what he calls ¿the machine-society.¿ He then later says:There is no chance of righting the conditions I described in the earlier chapters of this book, or of saving England from Fascism, unless we can bring an effective Socialist party into existence. It will have to be a party with genuinely revolutionary intentions, and it will have to be numerically strong enough to act. We can only get it if we offer an objective which fairly ordinary people will recognise as desirable. Beyond all else, therefore, we need intelligent propaganda. Less about `class consciousness,¿ `expropriation of the expropriators,¿ bourgeois ideology,¿ and `proletarian solidarity,¿ not to mention the sacred sisters, thesis, antithesis and synthesis; and more about justice, liberty and the plight of the unemployed. And less about mechanical progress, tractors, the Dneiper dam and the latest salmon-canning factory in Moscow; that kind of thing is not an integral part of Socialist doctrine, and it drives away many people whom the Socialist cause needs, including most of those who can hold a pen.No such Socialist party came about, yet England was not consumed by Fascism. And how were the conditions in northern England righted? Through technological advances and the progress of the machine-society which Orwell so disapproved of. There is clearly still an imbalance of wealth in England today, but to compare the houses of the working class now with the houses of the working class of eighty years ago is to compare modern luxury with medieval squalor. Televi
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is part journalistic look at 1930s Northern England coal miners and unemployment and part treatise on Socialism. I enjoyed the book, though Part 2 did get a bit tedious and long-winded. It was very interesting to read -- with 2010 hindsight-- Orwell's 1930s vision of Socialism. Also, his predictions about both economics and industrial technology are amusing. Some are right on while others are wildly off-base. His writing and though processes are logical and clearly articulated, which I found refreshing. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the subject matter.
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I read the sample and fell in love. 1984 and Animal Farm are so different it really shows how diverse orwell is. Highly reccomended.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The greatest writer ever. Don't just read 1984 and Animal Farm...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, except for the monetary denominations, could have been written today about the US and other countries with wildly distorted distance between rich and poor. Written with Orwell's usual skill.