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Having subscribed to Audible in a passing fit of madness, I discovered suddenly that the credits I had been accruing only added up to 6 - Audible permits no more. So frantically I began searching for something I could bear to listen to. Most of the Audible narrative performance are simply awful -- to me, I'm sure others enjoy the overly-dramatic renderings. If you agree with me, read on.
Finally, I found this book. I've read HtC probably half a dozen times, but not for the past six years or so. The narrator, Mr Northam, is British, and has a voice at once educated but with just a bit of the Counties in it somewhere, and he underplays his reading, which fits nicely with Orwell's "let me tell you exactly what it is like to be shot in the neck by a rifle" narrative.
More than that, though, is the character of the book itself. It is itself a first-person, factual narrative, and so lends itself well to this form. It helps if you're a bit left politically, too. cheers.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A true and raw story of the Spanish civil war. Communism at its worst.
A very well read and well written book. The narrator sounds exactly like I would expect George Orwell to sound. This is a great version of a powerful book
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
In its time a very controversial book for the European left, especially the Russian controlled communist parties and the beginning of the disillusionment of a great writer with the ideas and consequences of totalitarian power (Stalinist) and the party that controlled that centralisation.
Here we see the genesis of 1984, and his final unmasking of the crimes committed in the name of a new faith, a new religion as ferocious and intransigent as the worst religions.
The language is clear and direct and feels contemporary. So much so I could not stop thinking of the Syrian similarities, the young men thinking they will change everything with a single vision of what is correct, the naivete that wars can be just or controlled, that ideals will defeat established powers, that there is honour in the business of killing, the fragmentation of the belief into competing militias, the use of children to fight demagogues wars .
Orwell is blinded with his vision of a better world but is an exceptional reporter and describes his experience in Spain's civil war ( 1936 to 1939) with stark uncensored realism that captures more than just the image he wants to present but a reality that can be studied from different angles, not just the one given by the writer. He also warns that his reporting might be tainted by his ideals or beliefs a first in my experience with writers.
The use of acronyms is baffling because they are given as if everyone knew their meaning but Orwell explains in his appendices the meaning and the animosities of all these factions of the left.
This is a very personal book, of one man’s limited experience (from December 1936 until June 1937) in what was a long bloody war. It explains his reasons and his view of why the war started in a very of the period and party line explanation. For a broader historical point of view I would look else where.
If you like Orwell this is a must read.
The narration was excellent it made Me think I was listening to the writer.
26 of 29 people found this review helpful
This book rightly deserves to be on the cannon of western "leftist" literature. It provides a firsthand account of a writer turned soldier and gives a really human feel to the Spanish conflict. I would definitely say it provides a bit of a rosy tinted view of a very complicated conflict though.