Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

How should I classify Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell? As a memoir or a history book? I’ve decided to add it to my memoirs category because it is very much about him and his experience. It’s also an important historical document, a first hand account of the Spanish civil war, but I imagine is read more because it’s a book by Orwell and less as a civil war document.

What I did not expect was for the book to be so entertaining. It has some rather funny parts, he is also sarcastic, and talks openly about everyday problems faced by the soldiers fighting in the war or wars in general. His descriptions of the fight in the trenches was fascinating. Sadly he doesn’t talk much about his wife, despite her role in Spain.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

I read this book for my studies and I’m very glad I did. It’s worth reading even if you are not particularly interested in the Spanish civil war. He mentions the alphabet-soup of the different political organizations, but you might just ignore them and still enjoy the book. The book I read had 12 chapters and 2 appendices, these last two with details on the Spanish political scene. Of course, you can skip those if you are not interested. For me, even the story behind the book is interesting. When it was published, in 1938, the war was still happening in Spain, and his critical views on the left expressed in the book made it unpublishable by the left.

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Penguin Modern Classics
Year it was published: 2000 (first published in 1938)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Memoir
Pages: 264

About the author: Eric Arthur Blair, known by his pen name George Orwell, was a well known English author and journalist. In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a police officer with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927 and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1937. Orwell was severely wounded when he was shot through his throat.
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. He was a prolific polemical journalist, article writer, literary critic, reviewer, poet, and writer of fiction, and, considered perhaps the twentieth century’s best chronicler of English culture.
Books by Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four; Animal Farm; Homage to Catalonia; Down and Out in Paris and London; The Road to Wigan Pier.
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4 thoughts on “Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell”

  • Like Yvonne, the only Orwell I’ve read is Animal Farm. I really should go back and read 1984.

    I think memoirs can be a wonderful way to learn more about history, keeping in mind (of course) that it most likely reflects the author’s personal bias. This one sounds tempting.
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    • He is very open about his bias, so, in a way, I can’t held that against him. I plan to read Animal Farm and 1984 and maybe another one or two.

  • Hi Anca.

    I have to say that the only work I have read by Orwell, is that which we had to study at school for GCE ‘O’ levels (you guessed it ‘Animal Farm’). The acronym itself will tell you just how long ago that was!

    He is on my shelf of ‘classic’ books and authors that I have been promising myself I will read, for ages now.

    It is just finding the time and to be honest, I had no idea until I just went and checked, what a prolific author of non fiction he was.

    Thanks for sharing and jogging my memory about my classics shelf 🙂

    Yvonne xx

    • That’s true, he has many non-fiction books and, if they are just as entertaining as this one, they make for a wonderful read. 🙂

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