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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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4,164631,203 (4.07)212
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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English (55)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Orwell's chronicle of the lessons he learned fighting in the Spanish Civil War. He enters thinking he is fighting the Fascists, he leaves disillusioned and branded as a traitor. A book that defines Orwell. Personal, brutally truthful and a book that strips away all the supposed romance of war. "The fact is that every war suffers a kind of progressive degradation with every month that it continues, because such things as individual liberty and a truthful press are simply not compatible with military efficiency." ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
This was the penultimate of Orwell’s ‘full sized’ books that I had left to read. It deals with the Spanish Civil War – a subject I knew very little about. I must admit that I had been putting this one off as I thought it might be a bit dry.

At the age of 33, Orwell headed to Spain, after getting the necessary paperwork from the British ILP (Independent Labour Party) to allow him access to the country under the guise of being their correspondent, and he enlisted in the POUM (Workers' Party of Marxist Unification) to be trained as a soldier. He discovers that the group are ill-equipped to go to war, many of them being just seventeen or eighteen years of age, and none of them having any decent equipment, but they are sent to the Aragón front where they stay for several months.

Orwell is frustrated by the lack of decent weapons, but somehow he survives (despite getting shot in the throat!) and is ultimately sent back to Barcelona where he gets caught up in a conflict over a Telephone Exchange (as unlikely as that seems!). His wife Eileen is in Spain with him during the war. Ultimately the Orwells, together with many other members of the POUM have to leave Spain in a hurry.

It’s not as dry as I expected it to be and I found it most enjoyable. I found Orwell’s writing this book as enjoyable as in others, although Down and Out in Paris and London remains my favourite of his non-fiction full-length books. In this one, a bit of Orwell’s human side comes out. At one point, his hotel room is raided by plain clothed policemen, searching for evidence of Orwell’s involvement with POUM, it having been declared an illegal organisation at the start of the conflict, and they remove all of Orwell’s paperwork. He laments its loss, and is largely concerned with the fact that they had taken letters he had yet to reply to. He writes “incidentally, they took a number of letters I had received from readers. Some of them have not been answered, and of course I have not the addresses. If anyone wrote to me about my last book, and who did not get an answer, happens to read these lines, will he please accept this as an apology?” – it is great to hear that Orwell cared enough to reply to his readers and was concerned that he hadn't done so.

One thing that amused me was his thoughts on Sagrada Família , the famous Catholic church in Barcelona. “...I went to have a look at the cathedral - a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world...” LOL – this is on my ‘to do’ list – I really want to see it. Clearly Orwell wasn’t impressed! :lol:

The book contains two appendices – formerly chapters 5 and 11 – which concentrate on the politics of the war. Orwell urges the reader to “skip” these if they are not interested in the deep politics of the situation. I must admit to having skim read them! The rest of the book was really enjoyable though and it is with a little sadness that I look forward to my last full-length offering of his, Burmese Days, knowing it is the last for me apart from the essays.
( )
  Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
Did you know George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War? Like a lot of people, I only really knew Orwell for 1984 and Animal Farm. Reading this account of the author's experience fighting Franco and fascism offers great context for other works while also illuminating all the confusion and propaganda from this 20th Century war. Orwell writes in an accessible way, effectively conveying his own outrage at the events of the war but also his fondness for the Spaniards. Worth a read for all Orwell fans and war history buffs. ( )
  wethewatched | Jan 7, 2016 |
Very interesting. This book is a memoir of Orwell's time in the Spanish Civil War. At times he also takes a step back and looks at the big picture of the war. Basically it was the fascists vs the Marxists, Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists. All the non-fascist parties kind of hated each other but saw they were generally on the same side. As Orwell fought for the Marxists he saw mostly what was happening in the communist/anarchist controlled city of Barcelona and it sounded pretty awful. Propaganda, censorship, and imprisonment for opposition pretty much ruled the day. This book shows why we in America are so lucky to have a Constitution, and what far left politics really are- tyranny. ( )
  JaredChristopherson | Nov 16, 2015 |
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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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Editions: 0141183055, 0141393025

 

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