Homage to Catalonia
Why this book?
What the Spanish Civil War meant to the world, told by an outsider who was plunged into it–by choice. Possibly the first book I read about the conflict (my copy is from 1967–Beacon Press). This little volume (232 pages) epitomizes the well-loved book, splashed with coffee stains, bristling with Post-Its, and peppered with underlining and notes. The author of the better-known Animal Farm and 1984 doesn’t spare us his strong opinions, as in this description of a Russian agent: “… it was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies–unless one counts journalists.” But Homage presents a generous view of people “who, with their innate decency and their ever-present Anarchist tinge, would make even the opening stages of Socialism tolerable if they had the chance.”