Homage to Catalonia

by George Orwell ; with an introduction by Bob Edwards

No cover

Homage to Catalonia (1970, The Folio Society)

214 pages

English language

Published Nov. 8, 1970 by The Folio Society.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

[Homage to Catalonia][1] is [George Orwell][2]'s account of his experiences fighting in the 'Spanish Civil War'. Alongside many British workers, trades unionists, and socialists keen to help the Spanish defend their Republic from General Franco's Fascist forces. Orwell joined the [POUM][3] Militia in the Catalan region of Spain, was injured in the fighting and invalided back to England. After leaving the front line preparatory to leaving Spain, Orwell saw for himself the machinations of the Communist Party leading to the POUM being declared 'Enemies of the People' along with its destruction. Which he expresses in his companion piece the Essay [Looking back on the Spanish War][4]. These are fuller descriptions of events culled from direct experience, than many especially current misrepresentations of the Spanish Conflict. English film director [Ken Loach][5] made a landmark film [Land and Freedom][6] of the Spanish anti fascist struggle with many similarities to George Orwell's story …

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Review of 'Homage to Catalonia' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

This is a very powerful book. It's a first-hand account of how Orwell found himself volunteering for an anti-Fascist brigade, and how utterly disillusioning the whole experience was, as the fractious anti-Fascists wasted enormous amounts of energy fighting each other instead of the real enemy. There are relevant lessons for any political campaign today (certainly I see the same tendencies in the environmental movement), and it also does a lot to illuminate where he was coming from with Animal Farm and 1984. Having studied these at school I was left under the impression that Orwell was a rather pro-establishment writer, but reading his non-fiction makes it clear that he was a strong ideological Socialist, and his critiques of Stalinism have all the bitterness of someone seeing his own ideals betrayed.

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Subjects

  • Spain -- History -- Civil War, 1936-1939 -- Personal narratives
  • Spain -- Politics and government -- 1931-1939