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Homage to Catalonia

2 Ratings: 5.0
A book by George Orwell

"I wonder what is the appropriate first action when you come from a country at war and set foot on peaceful soil. Mine was to rush to the tobacco-kiosk and buy as many cigars and cigarettes as I could stuff into my pockets." Most war correspondents observe … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: George Orwell
Genre: History
Publisher: Mariner Books
1 review about Homage to Catalonia

Best account of the foreign fighter in the Spanish civil war

  • Dec 15, 2003
Rating:
+5
The 1930's were an age of idealistic despair and the events of the Spanish civil war provide some of the most extreme examples. Given the circumstances of the Spanish republic, a military revolt was inevitable and when the civil war began, many idealistic men, such as Orwell, with left political leanings went to Spain for the chance to fight fascism. To them, it was finally an opportunity to militarily confront what they considered to be the greatest threat to civilization. However, the many political organizations in loose alliance against the forces under Franco were often more interested in destroying their rivals than fighting Franco. This lead to despair among those who fought on the front lines, only to be harassed, imprisoned and even shot based only on their political affiliation.
In this book, Orwell gives an excellent account of the despair and frustrations that arose as he experienced the political infighting. Upon his arrival in Spain to cover the war, he joined the P.O.U.M. militia, a communist organization unaffiliated with the Communist Party controlled by Stalin's henchmen. After months on the front line, he was severely wounded in the neck, only barely escaping death. However, after being sent back to recover, he found himself on the run, as the P.O.U.M. members were being hunted down. He was fortunate to be able to escape to France, avoiding the fate of imprisonment and death that befell so many of his comrades.
Orwell also tries to explain many of the political groups fighting in Spain, chapter five is devoted to a description of the major forces aligned against Franco. He also takes many of the newspapers and their journalists to task for their incompetent and unethical reporting of the political infighting. In my opinion, this is the best description of the Spanish civil war from the aspect of the people who left their homes to go and fight against fascism. Orwell captures the absurdity of the whole thing, and the despair of people who were willing to die for a cause that was made hopeless by people with differing political agendas.

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