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Publisher's Summary

Viewed as too libelous to print in England until 1968, the title essay in this collection reveals the abuse Orwell experienced as a child at an expensive and snobbish boarding school and offers insights into his lifelong concern for the oppressed.

"Why I Write" describes Orwell's sense of political purpose, and the classic essay "Politics and the English Language" insists on clarity and precision in communication in order to avoid the Newspeak later described in 1984.

Other essays focus on Gandhi (he "disinfected the political air"), Dickens ("no novelist has shown the same power of entering into the child's point of view"), Kipling ("a jingo imperialist"), Henry Miller (who told Orwell that involvement in the Spanish war was an act of an idiot), and England "a family with the wrong members in control").

©1954 Double Day Inc.; (P)1994 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Superb collection of essays, very well read

This is a first-rate collection of essays by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. The reader, Frederick Davidson, is excellent (as usual). As other reviewers have pointed out, the recording skips in places; this happens especially often in the latter half of Part 2. In nearly all cases the skips are tiny and it's easy enough to fill in the missing word (and it really does seem to be just one word that's affected), but there are a few more substantial skips. This isn't really acceptable, frankly, but I found it detracted less from my enjoyment of the book than one might think. It's not ideal, but it's hardly a fatal flaw when the content is so very good.

The complete contents are as follows:

- "Such, Such Were the Joys"
- Charles Dickens
- The Art of Donald McGill
- Rudyard Kipling
- Raffles and Miss Blandish
- Shooting an Elephant
- Politics and the English Language
- Reflections on Gandhi
- Marrakech
- Looking Back on the Spanish War
- Inside the Whale
- England Your England
- Boys' Weeklies
- Why I Write

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • BARRY
  • BENNINGTON, NE, United States
  • 01-27-10

Four Stars - Maybe Five Without the Skips

I agree almost completely with the earlier review here. The pieces are all interesting, very illuminating, and, of course, exceptionally well written. The skips in the audio are mainly in the second half, and while they are irritating, the book is well worth the trouble.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • South Bend, IN, USA
  • 12-22-09

5-star work, but technical problems

These essays are unusually smart and convey Orwell's particular brand of thinking. The flavor of the book is very English, somewhat glum, but intellectually stimulating. The parts which are dated (the English are a particularly gentle people) or esoteric (a long discussion about the meaning of popular picture post cards) or suspect (socialism or totalitarianism or the only viable options), are still quite interesting and even illuminating. The narrator is very upper-crust-sounding, but it fits somehow. The four stars are not five only because there are so many skips -- not just one or two as you might have in any recording, but dozens -- that it sometimes affects the meaning. When you have a writer who uses prose as economically as Orwell, you can't afford to lose many words.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Frequent skips make listening difficult

This would be a four or five-star book, if it were not for the inexcusable and frequent skips in the second half of the production, which are not only disconcerting, but sometimes make it difficult to follow the narration. This edition should be withdrawn and the production remastered or re-narrated.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great writing and reader but poor recording

What made the experience of listening to Such, Such Were the Joys and Other Essays the most enjoyable?

Davidson gave fine voice to Orwell's solid writing

Any additional comments?

Many points in the recording sound poorly spliced together. Parts of the text are missing.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • mark
  • Clarkston, GA, United States
  • 12-18-15

Outstanding book marred by poor playback

Outstanding work, outstanding performance marred by frequent, regular, irritating skips throughout the last third of the book. Thinking this was caused by a poor download i deleted and then redownloaded. It is a glitchy file.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book deserves better recording. Skips horribly

This is a terrific collection of essays read quite well by Frederick Davidson. The unfortunate part is that the recording while clear is pockmarked all through with skipping. Dreadful really.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 11-25-17

beyond 1984 and Animal Farm


? were you required to read 1984 or Animal Farm as a student
? do you feel that social media has invaded every corner of your life
? do you find corporate and political speech stultifying and oppressive

george orwell ( eric blair ) foresaw many of these impending modern issues
the fact that he was born in 1903, tells us just how insightful he really was
the phrases "...big brother...thought police...newspeak..." all originated with orwell

as you'd expect with a prophet, orwell lead a grumpy, difficult and lonely existence
this collection of eloquent essays chronicle each chapter in his life and thought
if you still believe individuals are of infinite worth you'll find orwell an insightful guide

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

An Amazing Book

I have enjoyed listening to this audiobook. It is very interesting and informative. The essays are so amazing. I just felt that the narrator needed to lighten up a bit. But overall, it is wonderful. I highly recommend it to all.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Some of Orwell's Best Essays.

The narrator has a really posh English accent, which I doubt Orwell would have cared for, let alone spoken that way. It's worth putting up with it though, these essays are great.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful