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Publisher's Summary

The articles collected in George Orwell’s Essays illuminate the life and work of one of the most individual writers of this century - a man who elevated political writing to an art. This outstanding collection brings together Orwell’s longer, major essays and a fine selection of shorter pieces that includes “My Country Right or Left”, “Decline of the English Murder”, “Shooting an Elephant", and “A Hanging”. 

With great originality and wit, Orwell unfolds his views on subjects ranging from a revaluation of Charles Dickens to the nature of Socialism, from a comic yet profound discussion of naughty seaside postcards to a spirited defense of English cooking. Displaying an almost unrivalled mastery of English plain prose, Orwell’s essays created a unique literary manner from the process of thinking aloud and continue to challenge, move, and entertain.

©1984 Estate of the Late Sonia Brownell Orwell (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

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Great Content; Would benefit from chapter names

I just finished this book. and... it's great. If you’re looking for something that will make you think - this is great. perhaps you’re curious about Orwell’s essays - a great choice as well. I only read "Animal Farm" & "1984" prior to reading this, but I kept hearing mentions of Orwell as a visionary. Oftentimes it was one of his essays that were mentioned, so I picked this book up. Definitely not disappointed, even though some of the essays are definitely not life-changing. But the recording is worth the investment of time and money, and some his writing most definitely changed some of my views (Charles Dickens, review of Tropic of Cancer, his writing on the English language in particular). When it comes to narration, Alex Hyde-White does an awesome job, I can easily imagine it’s Orwell himself speaking.
I made a list of the chapters and corresponding essays. If the audible/publisher could fix this, it would make this much better audiobook, making it easier to revisit some of the essays later on. With a risk of the update making this review irrelevant, here it is:
Chapter 1 - Introduction Essay
Chapter 2 - “Why I Write”
Chapter 3 - “The Spike”
Chapter 4 - “A Hanging”
Chapter 5 - “Shooting an Elephant”
Chapter 6 - “Bookshop Memories”
Chapter 7 - "Marrakech"
Chapter 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 - "Charles Dickens"
Chapter 14 - “Boys’ Weeklies”
Chapter 15, 16, 17 - “Inside the Whale - a review of Henry Miller’s ‘Tropic of Cancer’”
Chapter 18 - “My Country - Right or Left”
Chapter 19, 20, 21 - “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius”
Chapter 22 - “Wells, Hitler, and the World State”
Chapter 23 - “The Art of Donald McGill”
Chapter 24 - “Rudyard Kipling”
Chapter 25 - “Looking back at the Spanish war”
Chapter 26 - “W. B. Yeats”
Chapter 27 - “Poetry and the Microphone”
Chapter 28 - “In Defence of English Cooking”
Chapter 29 - “Benefits of Clergy: Some Notes on Salvador Dalí”
Chapter 30 - “Raffles and Miss Blandish”
Chapter 31 - “Arthur Kessler”
Chapter 32 - “Antisemitism in Britain”
Chapter 33 - “In Defence of P. G. Wodehouse”
Chapter 34 - “Notes on Nationalism”
Chapter 35 - “Good Bad Books”
Chapter 36 - “The Sporting Spirit”
Chapter 37 - “Nonsense Poetry”
Chapter 38 - “The Prevention of Literature”
Chapter 39 - “Books v. Cigarettes”
Chapter 40 - “Decline of the English Murder”
Chapter 41 - “Politics and The English Language”
Chapter 42 - “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”
Chapter 43 - “A Good Word for the Vicar of Bray” Chapter 44 - “Confessions of a Book Reviewer”
Chapter 45 - “Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels” Chapter 46 - “How the Poor Die”
Chapter 47 - “Riding down from Bangor”
Chapter 48 - “Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool”
Chapter 49, 50 - “Such, Such Were the Joys”
Chapter 51 - “Writers and Leviathan “
Chapter 52 - “Reflections on Gandhi”

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Excellent content and performance !!

Nice mixture of both mainstream and obscure Orwell essays. Alex Hyde-White exhibited great punctuation and pacing in his reading of the works...

4 people found this helpful

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Indispensable.

Orwell's essays are so thought provoking and enjoyable the context of their time doesn't even matter. He turns reviews of books you haven't read into insightful dialogues on issues as diverse as the role of the writer in an age of totalitarianism to what Tolstoys review of King Lear tells us about the ethics of the man.

A wonderful collection.

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it's too bad so many people stop at 1984 & A.F.

as the man himself had so many wonderful things to say on such a wide variety of topics... I'm only embarrassed that I too, for many years, stopped after the two aforementioned classics... but at least now I've seen the error if my ways. Orwell is one of those truly great combination writer/polemicist/intellectual who can say something I completely disagree with and yet still have me enthralled to the depths of my being. I'm not one of those people who lives in an echo chamber but still, I am typically hyper aware of my dispute with a writer of their work when I'm reading something, "just to know what the enemy thinks". not to say that I dispute much of what orwell writes--truly finding the second tier of his work has him dangerously close to overtaking Henry Miller as my favorite of all time...

anyway, this collection is complex, concise and complete (obv. not everything complete, but virtually all his important/best/most heralded essays are here in one volume and the narrator is top flight... nowadays when I read Orwell I hear this guys voice in my head as the actual voice of George Orwell himself... so completely does he capture the spirit of Orwell, or at least how I imagine him to be seeing as how he don't walk around no more.)

2 people found this helpful