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The Road To Wigan Pier
by George Orwell
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Although George Orwell grew up in the relative comfort of the English middle class, his socialist convictions and general sense of fairness led him to hate his country's deeply ingrained class structure. That perspective permeates this book, but the most striking elements are the quotidian details of life that Orwell observes in his first-person account of the lives of coal miners and others in the poor north of England. Wigan Pier is almost too realistic at times, as Orwell brings his unparalleled powers of observation to portray the wretched conditions of the working class. That Orwell may have slanted his reporting to make things look worse than they were is a question that does not lessen the book's interest.
Times were hard for English workers in the 1930s when George Orwell dramatized their plight in this documentary expose of the underclasses. THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER is a trek back through time to an experience suffered by many of our parents and is an unrecognized masterpiece by the author of 1984 and ANIMAL FARM. Always courageous and original, Orwell gives us a feeling for what it must have been like to have had to cope with the grinding poverty of half a century ago.
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