8 Great George Orwell Books

George Orwell Books: Eric Arthur Blair, known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is characterized by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism. We hope that you enjoy our list of the best George Orwell Books.

George Orwell Books

Animal Farm by George Orwell, Russell Baker

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned—a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.
 
When Animal Farm was first published, Stalinist Russia was seen as its target. Today it is devastatingly clear that wherever and whenever freedom is attacked, under whatever banner, the cutting clarity and savage comedy of George Orwell’s masterpiece have a meaning and message still ferociously fresh.

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin

Over the years the American writer Emma Larkin has spent traveling in Burma, also known as Myanmar, she’s come to know all too well the many ways this brutal police state can be described as “Orwellian.” The life of the mind exists in a state of siege in Burma, and it long has. But Burma’s connection to George Orwell is not merely metaphorical; it is much deeper and more real. Orwell’s mother was born in Burma, at the height of the British raj, and Orwell was fundamentally shaped by his experiences in Burma as a young man working for the British Imperial Police. When Orwell died, the novel-in-progress on his desk was set in Burma. It is the place George Orwell’s work holds in Burma today, however, that most struck Emma Larkin. She was frequently told by Burmese acquaintances that Orwell did not write one book about their country – his first novel, Burmese Days – but in fact he wrote three, the “trilogy” that included Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. When Larkin quietly asked one Burmese intellectual if he knew the work of George Orwell, he stared blankly for a moment and then said, “Ah, you mean the prophet!”

Animal Farm / 1984 by George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens

ANIMAL FARM

George Orwell’s classic satire of the Russian Revolution is an intimate part of our contemporary culture. It is the account of the bold struggle, initiated by the animals, that transforms Mr. Jones’s Manor Farm into Animal Farm–a wholly democratic society built on the credo that All Animals Are Created Equal. Out of their cleverness, the pigs Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball emerge as leaders of the new community in a subtle evolution that proves disastrous. The climax is the brutal betrayal of the faithful horse Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: But some Animals Are More Equal Than Others. . . .

1984

In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, Lionel Trilling

In 1936, originally intending merely to report on the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, George Orwell found himself embroiled as a participant—as a member of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unity. Fighting against the Fascists, he described in painfully vivid and occasionally comic detail life in the trenches—with a “democratic army” composed of men with no ranks, no titles, and often no weapons—and his near fatal wounding. As the politics became tangled, Orwell was pulled into a heartbreaking conflict between his own personal ideals and the complicated realities of political power struggles.
 
Considered one of the finest works by a man V. S. Pritchett called “the wintry conscience of a generation,” Homage to Catalonia is both Orwell’s memoir of his experiences at the front and his tribute to those who died in what he called a fight for common decency. This edition features a new foreword by Adam Hochschild placing the war in greater context and discussing the evolution of Orwell’s views on the Spanish Civil War.

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

This unusual fictional account, in good part autobiographical, narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. In the tales of both cities we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.

An Examination of George Orwell's, The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, Richard Hoggart

George Orwell is a well loved English author, who is respected for his honesty, integrity, plain yet eloquent use of the English language and his dedication to exposing injustice and dishonesty. Yet there is one town in the North of England where the name George Orwell is less likely to receive such a warm response, that town is Wigan. 76 Years ago Orwell set off for the North of England to record his account of the dire problems of poverty, the hopelessness of unemployment and the horrors of slum life. The effect of the book was profound, contributing to a growing popular campaign to end the worst excesses of poverty and the clearance of slum housing. However it left a lasting legacy and stigma of poverty on the town of Wigan. Popular opinion among the residents of Wigan was that Orwell had chosen to dwell relentlessly on the negative, failing to record positive aspects of working class life, such as leisure pursuits.

George Orwell: The Authorised Biography by Michael Shelden

In his probing and revelatory biography of one of the great prose stylists of the 20th century, acclaimed biographer Michael Shelden breaks new ground in the evocation of George Orwell’s personal life and in our understanding of his art. Based on original interviews, previously undiscovered letters and documents, and astute literary detective work, Orwell is the major biography of one of the great yet elusive literary figures of our time.

Shelden reveals the author of 1984 and Animal Farm as a lively, engaging literary personality. Few writers can rival Orwell’s experience of history: being shot through the throat in the Spanish Civil War, holding the position of colonial police superintendent in Burma, and living through the Blitz. Shelden restores a sense of drama and passion to this writer’s life and shows him to be a captivating, even heroic character struggling against great public and private turmoil.

Burmese Days by George Orwell

Orwell draws on his years of experience in India to tell this story of the waning days of British imperialism. A handful of Englishmen living in a settlement in Burma congregate in the European Club, drink whiskey, and argue over an impending order to admit a token Asian.