Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Report: Homage to Catalonia

George Orwell is a bad ass.

That could very much end this report but I cannot leave it there.  I choose to read this book because it was listed on a list of the best memoirs ever written by some person who read a lot of memoirs.  While I am no expert in such things, or any things really, I happen to agree.

The narrative chapters about Orwell's time at the front and his posts during the May fighting in Barcelona were raw and beautiful at the same time.  He pulled no punches and provided an honest view of something I never want to know.

While written in the 1930s, there are a number of parallels to today's economic situation in Europe generally and Spain specifically.

I will say that the chapters about the internal anti-Facist political struggles behind the front were extremely complicated and hard to follow.  I understand that, at the time, they were used to set the record straight (or as straight as they could be set) but they were tough to follow today.

War sucks and this book does nothing to convince you otherwise.  However, it does provide insight into the mind of someone willing to die in the muck to fight against what should not be.  It was clear that Orwell in someways enjoyed the fight and what he was doing, but he didn't pretend that it was something beautiful.  His heroism was beautiful, as was his desire to leave the country.  His dedication to democracy and workers' rights was as inspirational as was his dash to get out of Spain before he was killed or arrested.

4 out of 5 stars.

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