Homage to Catalonia

  • by George Orwell
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson
  • 8 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 1936, George Orwell went to Spain to report on the civil war and instead joined the P.O.U.M. militia to fight against the Fascists. In this now justly famous account of his experience, he describes both the bleak and the comic aspects of trench warfare on the Aragon front, the Barcelona uprising in May 1937, his nearly fatal wounding just two weeks later, and his escape from Barcelona into France after the P.O.U.M. was suppressed. As important as the story of the war itself is Orwell's analysis of why the Communist Party sabotaged the workers' revolution and branded the P.O.U.M. as Trotskyist, which provides an essential key to understanding the outcome of the war and an ironic sidelight on international Communism. It was during this period in Spain that Orwell learned for himself the nature of totalitarianism in practice, an education that laid the groundwork for his great books Animal Farm and 1984.


What the Critics Say

"[A] triumph.... The audio presentation adds a new dimension to a text which is required reading for any student of the Spanish Civil War." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Engaging insight into Orwell's political education

The narrative follows Orwell's experiences as a militiaman fighting for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War, but the fascinating aspect of the book is Orwell's growing awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the political environment. One sees, or hears, Orwell go through several stages: his realization of the political infighting on the Loyalist side; his recognition that Soviet geopolitical aims did not accord with those of the Spanish working class; his amazement that the infighting would be allowed to compromise the war against Franco; and his disbelief and finally disgust at the tactics of those following the Soviet line against their supposed allies.

Orwell was both a witness to and a near-victim of the progression of attacks of a totalitarian movement similar to those that were comprehensively described elsewhere by Hannah Arendt. Orwell recognized that the attacks of the Communists against their more radical counterparts needed no basis in fact, yet he hadn't quite accepted that truth, as he went out of his way to disprove the charges. By the time of "Animal Farm" and "1984", he would have internalized this lesson and depicted it in all its basic cruelty. A fascinating question is whether those later books would have been possible without Orwell's experiences in Spain.

Orwell described the horrors and misery of war, but one definitely gets the sense that he would have thought them all worthwhile if his idealistic faith in working class solidarity had not been shattered.
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- Roger

Excellent book, marred by narration

It goes without saying that an Orwell book comes recommended, and HOMAGE TO CATALONIA is indeed a fascinating account of the politics and lived experience of the Spanish Civil War. But the narration, while not the worst I have heard on audible, detracts from the overall experience. He fails to convey the irony and bemusement of the text, and as others have remarked, the accent doesn't sound right.
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- Kirby

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-19-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.