Crick’s George Orwell is important because this English political scientist is the first writer to have been given unrestricted access to Orwell’s papers as well as unlimited rights of quotation. The result is the best-written and most comprehensive Orwell biography to date — which means it suffers only by comparison with Orwell’s own work.

George Orwell A Life

Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four were the first books to capture the mass audience he coveted, but it was the publication of Homage to Catalonia almost a decade earlier that established Orwell as a man with “an almost reckless commitment to speaking out unwelcome truths.” His blistering attack on the communists in Spain–who were purportedly fighting for the same cause as he-enraged Stalinists in the 1930s, although the same book would become one of the bibles of the “ex-left” in the 1950s.

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