To those who think they know what George Orwell is all about, this book unpacks surprise after surprise. Orwell Your Orwell reveals an Orwell very different from the one most people think of. It gives an unexpected yet convincing picture of Orwell's beliefs, every key point precisely documented.
Orwell adopted a habitual rhetoric in which he portrayed himself as a lone, embattled dissident. But objectively examined, his opinions broadly corresponded with those of conventional leftwing thinking. Far from being skeptical of prevailing orthodoxies, Orwell emerges as a True Believer in the orthodoxies of the 1930s Left, though a believer who sharply drew attention to some of the serious problems with these ideologies.
In his short life, Orwell underwent several dramatic conversions - such as his overnight switch in August 1939 from being fiercely anti-war to enthusiastically pro-war - while cleaving to some fixed positions - such as his opposition to the British Empire, totalitarianism, and birth control. Dr. Steele identifies both the conversions and the continuities, as well as some aspects of his thought which gradually evolved.
As well as recovering Orwell's actual beliefs from the many accumulated misrepresentations, Dr. Steele also criticizes some of these beliefs, exposing the fallacies in Orwell's thinking on such issues as the economics of imperialism, the dangers of hedonism, the significance of the Spanish Civil War, and the efficacy of mind control.
-This is an absolutely dazzling book on Orwell, casting a brilliant new light, not just on Orwell himself, but on the entire intellectual history of our time. It is a 'must read', not just for devotees of Orwell, but for anyone concerned with discussions of socialism and capitalism, totalitarianism and democracy, ideological passion and intellectual honesty. It will prove a superb teaching aid at both undergraduate and graduate levels.---Yuri Maltsev, co-author of The Tea Party Explained and editor of Requiem for Marx
-There has always been some mystery about how Orwell could give us the nightmare world of Ingsoc (English Socialism) while himself remaining an unrepentant English Socialist. This and other puzzles about Orwell are convincingly solved in Dr. Steele's masterly account. If you want to know what made Orwell tick, you just have to read this eloquent, provocative, and hugely entertaining book.---Barry Smith, Director of the National Center for Ontological Research and author of Austrian Philosophy