Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens reviewed

George Orwell was right about the three great issues of the last century: empire, fascism and communism. So argues Christopher Hitchens in this terrifically well argued and pacey defence of one of the best known British political writers.

It seems remarkable to think that so many left wing activists defended the Soviet Union and were blind to its brutality right up until the collapse of the Berlin Wall. I remember a fellow journalist in 1989 mulling over the demise of a "fascinating experiment" in economic planning.

As a teenager I devoured everything he wrote. We studied 1984 for A Level, but it was Homage to Catalonia and his collections of articles that stirred my youthful spirit. I was always taken with his direct style and his independence of mind. I'm not sure if Hitch is a true heir to Orwell or not, I rather suspect he'd like to be, but this is a fine tribute nonetheless.

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