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Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
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Homage to Catalonia (original 1938; edition 2011)

by George Orwell

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4,033551,266 (4.07)188
Member:circumspice
Title:Homage to Catalonia
Authors:George Orwell
Info:IndoEuropeanPublishing.com (2011), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:read in 2012, Spanish Civil War, Spain, memoir, autobiography, socialism, anarchism, fascism, war, politics, history, radicalism

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Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (1938)

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» See also 188 mentions

English (50)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Ook verschenen als Saluut aan Catalonië
  Marjoles | Jul 21, 2015 |
Homage to Catalonia excels in two ways: in providing a first-hand, "you are there" account of what life was like in Barcelona and at the front in the Spanish Civil Way, and in giving insight into the man who became the author of 1984 and Animal Farm.

On the former: George Orwell (real name, Eric Blair) volunteered to fight with the militia against Franco's forces in the war, and--as was also evident in Down and Out in Paris and London--he knows how to write a sensual narrative. The sights, sounds, and smells he describes bring the scenes and experiences to life. As my exposure to Homage to Catalonia was through an audiobook, I felt like I was in the presence of a gifted raconteur. (Kudos to the one reading Orwell's words. I thought I was with Orwell himself.)

On the latter: those with a simplistic understanding of the Spanish Civil War understand it to have been a proxy war between Hitler (supporting Franco) and Stalin (supporting the Nationalists). It was not that simple, especially on the anti-Franco side. There were many factions resisting Franco. In the end, the Soviet-supported factions ended up commandeering the Nationalist side, but that was only after heavy-handed assaults against competing factions.

Orwell fought against Franco and he was an admitted socialist, but he was no Communist. He deplored totalitarianism of any kind. But he also admits he was not much of a political thinker before his Spanish involvement, and as his was a faction that became a target for Soviet-backed persecution and brutality, it's likely his experiences in Spain that help mold him to produce his later thinly-disguised anti-Soviet allegories. In Homage to Catalonia, he intersperses his narrative chapters with those he labels his "political" ones, in which he describes all the complex factional infighting that was going on within the anti-Franco crowd. As all the factions were known by their initials, there are moments in these chapters where the reader can feel he is drowning in alphabet soup, but they do give a richer texture to what was keeping Spain in turmoil even far from the battlefront.

I have heretofore had only a cursory understanding of the Spanish Civil War myself. Coming away from Homage to Catalonia, I feel like a need to learn more. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
This classic piece of Orwellian journalism documents his experience fighting in the Spanish Civil War in his typically witty and sardonic style. From being shot in the throat to evading capture from enemy troops Orwell questions what it means to fight for a political cause and explores the complexities surrounding the political allegiances of both sides. ( )
1 vote erinspragg | Mar 17, 2015 |
My daughter participated in Ciudad Eagles in Spain in 2011 ( an organization that pears English speakdes with Spanish wanting to learn English through participation through general discussion. No topic was off limits but one....the Civil War. It was not to be mentioned, iti is still so sensitive with curremt citizens of Spain..

Orwell went to fight the facists. Probably one of the verey best on the Civil ( )
  carterchristian1 | Feb 1, 2015 |
Another gap year for George: intensity of comradeship in the volunteer militias of the Spanish Civil War, satisfying despite the shambles of the fighting itself. Street fighting in Barcelona was so commonplace in that era, we're told, that they ought to have numbered the paving stones to aid the putting up and taking down of barricades. Orwell hones his plain writing, truth-telling style, and throws in some of his choice punchy observations: "Nothing will convince a Spaniard, at least a young Spaniard, that fire-arms are dangerous." The episode was genuinely transformative for Orwell's politics, as the determinedly classless society he found in the Barcelona of mid-late 1936 ("where the working class was in the saddle") added the force of lived experience, and a touch of sentiment, romance almost, to his socialism. ( )
  eglinton | Aug 25, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Orwellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, BobIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch i Camarasa, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, IngemarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trilling, LionelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Proverbs XXVI, 5-6
Dedication
First words
In the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona, the day before I joined the militia, I saw an Italian militiaman standing in front of the officers' table.
Quotations
...beware of my partisanship, my mistakes of fact and the distortion inveitably caused by my having seen only one corner of events.
In war, all soldiers are lousy, at least when it is warm enough.  
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156421178, Paperback)

"I wonder what is the appropriate first action when you come from a country at war and set foot on peaceful soil. Mine was to rush to the tobacco-kiosk and buy as many cigars and cigarettes as I could stuff into my pockets." Most war correspondents observe wars and then tell stories about the battles, the soldiers and the civilians. George Orwell--novelist, journalist, sometime socialist--actually traded his press pass for a uniform and fought against Franco's Fascists in the Spanish Civil War during 1936 and 1937. He put his politics and his formidable conscience to the toughest tests during those days in the trenches in the Catalan section of Spain. Then, after nearly getting killed, he went back to England and wrote a gripping account of his experiences, as well as a complex analysis of the political machinations that led to the defeat of the socialist Republicans and the victory of the Fascists.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

George Orwell's account of his experience as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The book describes the chaos at the Front, the futile young deaths for what became a confused cause, the antique weapons and the disappointment many British Socialists felt on arriving in Spain to help.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Audible.com

4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183055, 0141393025

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