Considering that much of his life was spent in poverty and ill health, it is something of a miracle that in only forty-six years George Orwell managed to publish ten books and two collections of essays. Here, in four fat volumes, is the best selection of his non-fiction available, a trove of letters, essays, reviews, and journalism that is breathtaking in its scope and eclectic passions. Orwell had something to say about just about everyone and everything. His letters to such luminaries as Julian Symons, Anthony Powell, Arthur Koestler, and Cyril Connolly are poignant and personal. His essays, covering everything from “English Cooking” to “Literature and Totalitarianism,” are memorable, and his books reviews (Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Mumford’s Herman Melville, Miller’s Black Spring, Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, to name just a few) are among the most lucid and intelligent ever written. From 1943 to 1945, he wrote a regular column for the Tribune, a left wing weekly, entitled “As I Please.” His observations about life in Britain during the war embraced everything from anti-American sentiment to the history of domestic appliances.
“While [Orwell] is best known for Animal Farm and 1984, most of his writing derived from his tireless work as a journalist, and thanks to David Godine’s welcome reissue of The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell, which has been out of print for a decade, readers can find it all in one place. All of the author’s insightful, hard-hitting essays and journalistic pieces are here…the most complete picture of the writer and man possible.”—Eric Liebetrau | Kirkus Reviews