Title: Homage to Catalonia
Author: George Orwell
Page Count/Review Word Count: 250
Homage to Catalonia is Orwell at his best, a book which tells the true story of Orwell’s time serving with the POUM in the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Orwell’s Group, the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, was a revolutionary group which fought alongside a mixture of socialists, communists and anarchists against the fascists led by General Franco.
Orwell served on the front line and witnessed the injustice of the war first hand and covers it in a way that no journalist could. So dedicated was Orwell to the war effort, he was almost killed when a fascist sniper shot him in the throat while he was at the front line.
The big surprise is the disconnect between what’s happening at the front and what’s happening in Barcelona, behind the lines. Orwell shows that the war was not fought with human lives at all, but with propaganda between the differing anti-Nationalist armies, propaganda that caused such a disconnect between each party that it may have lost them the war.
Whether you care about its political niceties or not, Homage to Catalonia is deeply gripping and a powerful glimpse into a window of history that, if you’re like me, you’ve never thought to open. But I can almost guarantee that by the time you get to the end of it, you’ll care deeply about the political niceties. Viva Poum!