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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.

Public Domain (P)1993 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Featured Article: 40+ Thought-Provoking George Orwell Quotes


George Orwell transformed literature with his piercing social commentary and allegorical style. His works have become so entrenched in popular culture that the term "Orwellian" is used to describe totalitarian and authoritarian societies. Orwell also wrote nonfiction books and essays that similarly express his gift for satire and controversial views on government. Throughout his writing career, he never feared tackling challenging topics, no matter how subversive.

What listeners say about The Road to Wigan Pier

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

20 people found this helpful

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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.

15 people found this 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

8 people found this helpful

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What is with all of the background noise?

This is a fantastic novel. I loved every second of it, and Frederick Davidson is a perfect narrator. However, starting in mid-Chapter 2, there was constant background noise. It sounded like a random male speaking/mumbling in the background. Not sure why or how come, but it was unfortunately extremely distracting.

6 people found this 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.

16 people found this helpful

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Narrator is ridiculous

Unlistenable to me, narrator is a little to flippant in tone. I would recommend sampling before purchase.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Admittedly splendid even for Socialist tendencies

I rather agree with Orwell on the merits of treating working class much better and the one of many things wrong with Socialist reasoning is the Socialists themselves since all things that crave to eliminate classes always tends to create new tribes of oppression to deal with helping which do more harm in a perverse and horrible way as was Orwell’s theme in this book. He even points to Soviet dealings which took Socialism mixed with Marxist ideas to get Communist Authoritarian shenanigans that ultimately led to millions being slaughtered all while the intellectuals thought Lenin was a “swell” guy.
Fundamental reading for back then and more now than ever in our day and age of radical extreme left and right views.

4 people found this helpful

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    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

3 people found this helpful

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background mumbling

I assume that multiple books are being recorded at the same time. In the background of the audio there’s a quiet but nonetheless noticeable voice of another book being read

2 people found this helpful

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Wow scary accurate

Orwell's observations and social commentary is just as accurate today as in the 1930's. Its like he is reading my mind and is describing my everyday surrounds albeit less dire. Well worth the read and in an amazing voice that is very comprehensible at x1.5.

2 people found this helpful