book cover of Orwell: The Road to Airstrip One

Orwell: The Road to Airstrip One

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"In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people ..." So begins one of Orwell's most famous essays. In "Orwell: The Road to Airstrip One" Ian Slater explains why Orwell was hated in Moulmein and takes us on a fascinating intellectual journey that traces the development of Orwell's political and social criticism. Using a thematic approach, Slater also examines Orwell's self-criticism and, finally, the hidden and corrosive dangers of state and self-imposed censorship in a security-obsessed world.

The book moves from Orwell's schooldays in England and his time as a policeman in Burma, through his years as a struggling poet, dishwasher, tramp in Paris, and tutor, schoolmaster, and bookshop assistant in London, to his critical experiences during the Spanish Civil War. Slater takes us beyond the events of Orwell's life to the bitter satire of the Russian Revolution in "Animal Farm" and the horrifying terror of Room 101 in "1984", Orwell's final novel, and shows that "1984" is as much a warning about the state of mind we call totalitarianism as it is a prophecy of an actual political state. As the war on terrorism continues and governments demand ever-increasing power over the individual in order to combat terrorism, "Orwell: The Road to Airstrip One", reissued during Orwell's centenary, warns us that "he who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster."

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