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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.

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  • Overall
  • 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • 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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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the writing itself is indicative of a person realizing or trying to. But reading plain

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Nice sketches of people and places.

What did you love best about The Road to Wigan Pier?

Orwell paints vivid portraits of people and place. Got claustrophobic listening to him write about visiting a mine.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road to Wigan Pier?

The aforementioned visit to the mine.

What does Frederick Davidson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought he did a serviceable job.

Any additional comments?

The problem I had with the book is half of it, it seems, is devoted to Orwell's thoughts on government. Frankly, it wasn't interesting at all. This book needed more people, less ideas.

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  • 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.

  • Overall

Narrator ruined it for me

I guess it might be a good book, but I just couldn't (although I tried) get past the narrator's infuriatingly smug tone...

3 of 9 people found this review helpful