The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

Published July 30, 2021

The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell

Book info

  • Title The Road to Wigan Pier
  • Author George Orwell
  • Year 1937
  • Genre Non-fiction

George Orwell's searing account of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. Orwell's graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in his later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain.


I think Tony Robinson mentioned this book on one of this many TV shows following him on a walking adventure, and I was intrigued. The book is very much of two halves - the first an insight into time Orwell spent boarding in slum houses and with a variety of grisly neighbours and landlords, and the second a very political treaty into the merits and perils of socialism.

It really isn’t the kind of book I would usually read, and I’m really glad I picked it up, although the first half was more interesting to me than the second. There are some really important and fascinating points in this book, but I’m not sure it’s written in a particularly accessible way.

Rating: 3 / 5

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