The Road to Wigan Pier

The Road to Wigan Pier

Book - 1958
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In the 1930s Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. He went beyond his assignment to investigate the employed as well-"to see the most typical section of the English working class." Foreword by Victor Gollancz.
Publisher: San Diego : Harcourt Brace, c1958
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780156767507
Characteristics: 232 p. ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Gollancz, Victor 1893-1967


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Jan 18, 2019

Orwell's description of working-class life in the coal mining towns of England in the 1930s is up there with Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". The first half of the book describes the working-class lifestyle of the coal mining families, and how little they really had to survive. The second half of the book, Orwell offers challenges to the benefits of socialism; as well as a good explanation of the differences in working-class vs. middle-class living. "It is only when you meet someone from a different culture that you begin to realize what your own beliefs really are." (p. 165).

Feb 01, 2018

Orwell wrote this book during the great economic depression of the 1930's, but the remarkable thing is how relevant it is today.

The first half of the book describes in detail what life is like in a depressed mining town in Northern England, seen from the perspective of an intelligent, curious and honest member of the "lower upper-middle class" from the South of Egland. His detailed explanations and admiration of coal miners tis worth considering, when we look at how many people still do physically taxing work today.

The second half of the book, which explains why people who have everything to gain from Socialism, so often oppose it. His analysis is different than what we can do in the US--England in the 1930's had its caste-like class structures and prejudices where in the US class prejudices manifest more in racial tensions and hierarchies, along with other ethnic, religious and stylistic division; and his major points still hold: many ordinary people dislike the notion of Socialism because they dislike the people, the image they associate with the word, and they dislike the super-organized-clean-and-lifeless-mechanical future which is also associated with Socialism.


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