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George Orwell

UK Publisher: Time Warner

Few writers can boast the brilliant legacy of George Orwell, both in his numerous additions to the English language (Big Brother, Newspeak, Room 101, Doublethink) and his profound influence on world literature. Now, on the centenary of Orwell’s birth, Gordon Bowker’s excellent new biography brings to life the man behind the words.

In fascinating detail, Bowker describes the remarkable chapters in Orwell’s life and draws on a wealth of new material to cast absorbing new light on Orwell’s character: his superstitious streak and flirtation with black magic; his complex and sometimes reckless sex life; revealing new evidence of his being hunted and spied on in Spain; the strange circumstances of his first marriage and his deathbed wedding to a women fifteen years his junior.

The portrait that emerges is a writer of undoubted genius but also an individual of curious contradictions: a great European writer with a profound sense of Englishness; a man who championed truth but was deeply deceptive in his own private life; a visionary romantic for whom the economic clarity of his writing was everything. Meticulously researched, Gordon Bowker’s biography offers the most fully realised account yet of this most pivotal of literary figures.