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George Orwell

About the Author

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair. The son of a civil servant, he was born in India in 1903. His family having moved to England in 1907, he commenced studies at Eton in 1917, where he contributed to several college magazines.

Orwell served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. Years of poverty followed.

In 1936 he fought for the Republicans in the Spanish civil war, and was wounded. He was admitted to a sanitorium in 1938. During World War II, Orwell served in the British Home Guard, and subsequently (from 1941 to 1943) worked for the BBC Eastern Service. He was the literary editor of the Tribune, and contributed to the Observer and the Manchester Evening News.

George Orwell is most famous for his books Animal Farm (published in 1945) and 1984 (published in 1949). He died in London, England in January of 1950.

About the Book

Written as a "fairy story" (Orwell titled the book "Animal Farm: A Fairy Story"), the subject of Animal Farm is very much aimed at an adult audience. Orwell paints a vivid picture of a violent political revolution of farm animals against the farmer who owns all, works the animal population hard, sends their offspring to slaughter, and feeds them little. Arguably not critical of revolution itself, Orwell describes an all-to-familiar corruption that undermines the goal of the revolution: in which those leading the revolution rally the masses not so much for the good of the masses, but so that the leaders can assume the role of master, complete with all of the oppressive conduct that goes with an authoritarian regime.

The characters in Animal Farm were inspired by the Russian Revolution and the events that followed - the pig Napoleon is clearly the farm's Josef Stalin - but Animal Farm was not simply a satire on the Russion Revolution. Orwell's message was intended to be broader. In his own words: "I meant the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job. The turning point of the storey was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves".

Food for thought, no matter what may be the intended goal of ones revolutionary plans.