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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great short collection of essays, June 23, 2006
This review is from: Why I Write (Penguin Great Ideas) (Paperback)
Why I Write is a collection of four pieces by one of the best writers of the twentieth century. George Orwell is best known for his political fables Animal Farm and 1984, but was also a prolific essayist and author of numerous short stories, many of them based on his own experiences in British-controlled Burma. This books includes three essays--"Why I Write", "The Lion and the Unicorn", and "Politics and the English Language"--and the short story "A Hanging."

"Why I Write" offers the reader a look into one great writer's motivations for writing, as Orwell lays out the only real reasons anyone writes. "The Lion and the Unicorn" is fascinating, not only for its often humorous descriptions of the British national character, but for the political ideas expressed in it and the knowledge, made clear by Orwell at the beginning, that this was written in the midst of the Blitz. "Politics and the English Language" is a brief guide to the fatal flaws of modern writing--all of which have lasted beyond Orwell--and how to mend them. "A Hanging" is reminiscent of another of Orwell's famous short stories, "Shooting the Elephant," as it describes an otherwise mundane action in ominous, metaphoric terms.

While hardly exhaustive, this collection of Orwell's essays is a good introduction to Orwell, his writings, and his political views. Makes very good reading for a trip, which is where I read it.

Highly recommended.
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Location: South Carolina, United States

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