I have loved these Penguin Great Ideas books since the time when I first laid eyes on them. Why I Write by Orwell was one of the Christmas gifts my wife gave me. I finished it on the plane this past Thursday. What a book! Only 120 pages, but packed with arresting insights and keen observations. Orwell is a master of both.
Here are a few samples:
On Neville Chamberlain
“His opponents professed to see in him a dark and wily schemer, plotting to sell England to Hitler, but it is far likelier that he was merely a stupid old man doing his best according to his very dim lights.”
The way we talk and think:
“It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”
And there is so much more in this funny, wise, and brilliant book!
Orwell at his best is very good indeed. Unfortunately, he wasn’t always at his very best…