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Homage to Catalonia Review

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Orwell is most famous for his fiction 1984 and Animal Farm, but he also wrote several nonfiction works, including this memoir. The Spanish Civil War is a relatively untaught time period in history, and is fascinating as it is an example of an anarchist, worker-run society functioning, at least until it was quashed by mainstream parties and fascism. For a brief time, industries were owned by the workers, and class was abolished. However, with fascists threatening to take over Spain, the old capitalist parties spoke of delaying the revolution and just focusing on fighting fascism. This resulted in a return to the old ways, and the brief anarchist society was loss.


Nonfiction, memoir


In 1936 George Orwell travelled to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s own experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling.


Orwell’s time fighting in the Spanish Civil War massively shaped his later political views, drawing him to socialism and anarchism and his belief in a society without hierarchy. These themes can be seen in his two more famous works, both anti-authoritarian.

While Homage to Catalonia doesn’t have quite the genius of writing that Orwell’s fiction does, it’s a fascinating work. Some may find it dry, but Orwell’s thoughts and analysis on war and the political situation reveal his genius understanding of society.

He describes his experiences on the front lines fighting fascists, and shows how those who bravely fought were later persecuted once Spain returned to its former capitalist system.

This is a worthwhile read, even just to learn about this time period, and especially for Orwell fans looking to learn more about how his views were shaped and formed. Orwell remains a favorite classical author of mine.

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