|First published March 8th 1937|
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.
Considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote fiction, polemical journalism, literary criticism and poetry. He is best known for the dystopian novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (published in 1949) and the satirical novella "Animal Farm" (1945)—they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author.
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.