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George Orwell's observations on the appalling living conditions of the unemployed of northern England in 1937, includes evaluations of middle class prejudice and apathy, and a criticism of socialism
You think that the recession isn't biting? Look again. You think that the riots in August 2011 were unpredicted? Think again. 75 years after George Orwell's classic expose on life in the North, Stephen Armstrong returns to find that many things have changed, but not always for the better. Here he finds how young girls go missing because of the intransigence of the benefits systems, how fragile hope can be in the face of poverty and why the government stands in the way of a community helping itself. In his journey, taking in Bradford, Sheffield, Liverpool and Wigan, Armstrong reveals a society at the end of its tether, abandoned by all those who speak in its name.
Volume 5 of The Complete Works of George Orwell Victor Gollancz personally commissioned Orwell to write about the distressed north of England in January 1936. After Orwell handed in his typescript a little before Christmas Day 1936, he immediately left to fight in Spain. Shortly afterwards the book was selected for publication by the Left Book Club. This meant a print run of 47,340 copies instead of 2,150, so bringing Orwell to a much wider audience. The first part of Orwell's account, Gollancz wrote in Left News in April 1937, 'has done, perhaps in a greater degree than any previous book, what the [Left Book] Club is meant to do - it has provoked thought and discussion of the keenest kind'. All copies of the original Left Book Club and first public editions of The Road to Wigan Pier were sold. This edition reproduces the illustrations selected for that first edition, corrects the text and prints Victor Gollancz's Foreword as an Appendix. (See Volume Ten for Orwell's Wigan Pier Diary and the research materials he wrote and collected in order to write The Road to Wigan Pier.)
Collected together for the first time, this volume includes the complete text of THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER - Orwell's vivid and impassioned documentary of unemployment and proletarian life - as well as Orwell's best writing on the political and social condition of England.

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