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Publisher's Summary

When Orwell went to England in the 1930s to find out how industrial workers lived, he not only observed but shared in their experiences. He stayed in cramped, dreary lodgings and subsisted on the scant, cheerless diet of the poor. He went down into the coal mines and walked crouching, as the miners did, through a one- to three-mile passage too low to stand up in. He watched the back-breaking, dangerous labor of men whose net pay then averaged $575 a year. And he knew the unemployed, those who had been out of work for so long they had sunk beyond despair into an inhuman apathy.

In this searing yet beautiful account of life on the bottom rung, Orwell asks himself why Socialism - which alone, he felt, could rescue human values from the ravages of industrialism - had so little appeal. His answer is a harsh critique of the Socialism and Socialists of his time.

(P)1993 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debali
  • Chicago, Israel
  • 01-11-09

Frederick Davidson's a Great Reader

A fantastic book (particularly if you are interested in the history of political debates on the left). Well narrated. This is what it says it is. I loved it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An Interesting Social Commentary

I'm a fan of dystopian novels so I decided to give Orwell's nonfiction work a shot. I was pleasantly surprised with his commentary on the state of the English working class and socialism in the 1930s. The description of the work day and home life of the working class was quite interesting and eye opening, as was Orwell's commentary on the ills of society.

Some of the book was geared toward English society and more applicable to a nation with a long history and more definitive class structure. Other statements still applied to current U.S. society, including some of his foreboding predictions (like eating unhealthy foods becoming the new fatal disease). I was fascinated with his foresight yet appalled at the same time that someone noticed this 70 years ago yet nothing was to head off or solve the problems.

The narrator had a great accent and made the book come alive. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the narrator. I will look for more books read by this narrator.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected.

Orwell: An honest, thoughtful Socialist. I, being born in 1962, have yet to meet one of these rare animals.

The 1920s and 1930s were the progressive era. From my view, he can be forgiven for his optomism, based as it was on genuine love for his fellow man and coming, as it did before Chinese and Soviet atrocities made it frighteningly clear that his premonition that Socialism and Fascism were (twin) sisters was not just accurate but unavoidable.

I'd read Orwell long ago. What I had no inkling of was that I'd catch a whiff of P.J. O'Rourke in his humor, particularly in a book devoted to the serious issues examined in Wiggan Pier.

Loved the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Socialism

Written in the mid '30s Orwell interprets and then comments on the mindset of England at the pivotal point of their metamorphosis into a partner of the European family from a bully leadership role. As ever, Orwell's insight is stunning

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Newtoid
  • Chico, California, USA
  • 03-04-18

Play a sample before you buy this.

The voice for this book is completely inappropriate. Very hard to listen to the content.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Just wow

Unmatched analysis of the socialist class, and how amazing it is that this was written so long ago

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Braden
  • New Carlisle, OH, United States
  • 10-21-11

Very interesting book by a socialist in the 1930s!

This book is an interesting and detailed insight into the life of the working class in England in the 1930s, as well as into the thinking life of the intellectual socialists of that time. Mind you, most of the predictions Orwell made about the bleakness of the future of industrialization, and the inevitablility of socialism's adoption were way off-target, but then he didn't have the historical record of socialism's abject economic failures to draw upon as we do today, since it was almost all in the future at that time.

Nevertheless the way he analyzes from every angle, the thinking of socialists and non-socialists alike, is fascinating. What an intelligent man he was (I know, I know, if he was so intelligent, why did he get the future and the workability of socialism as an economic model so wrong? But I already addressed that in the last paragraph). Also, the details he describes in the everyday are a testimony to his incredible way with words.

The narrator's snobbish-sounding upper-class British dialect adds a lot to the reading, capturing the spirit of condescencion that Orwell clearly had for all sorts of groups he describes, whether socialists or non-socialists.

A first-class listen. I almost couldn't put it down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrible narrator

This is a very good book with a horrible narrator. Ive had to suffer through several very good books because Audible has not rerecorded them with a decent narrator . Davidson has one of those over the top insufferable British accents that were popular during the 1940's I'm talking about the fake Cary Grant accent: Judy, Judy, Judy . AWFUL . The content was good enough to slog through
Please record this with a voice from today!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marianna
  • ANNAPOLIS, MD, United States
  • 01-17-12

Annoying Narrator

Would you try another book from George Orwell and/or Frederick Davidson?

not Frederick Davidson

What other book might you compare The Road to Wigan Pier to and why?

Don't know.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator's voice was almost farcically sneering and comically upper-crust. But it wasn't meant to be a satire.

Could you see The Road to Wigan Pier being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I have no idea.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

GEORGE ORWELL: FORTELL THE FUTURE!

George Orwell could really see the future. He painfully details society in the 1930's which is the same now in 2018!