Review by Choice Review
An important book that any follower of George Orwell will find wholly engrossing. As discoverer of an extraordinary cache of Orwell writings in the BBC archives and now editor of almost 200 pages of literary and other talks as well as more than 200 letters pertaining to these talks, West moves most competently by means of an excellent introduction; copious footnotes (occasionally misplaced) identifying each person and title; appropriate appendixes relating to BBC and government wartime policies; 23 black-and-white illustrations, some unusual but all describing the London scene and Orwell's work as Talks Producer; and a good index. West fills in two years of Orwell's life and writing (1941-43), which Bernard Crick treats inadequately and misleadingly in his George Orwell: A Life (CH, Jul '81). Crick's views on the genesis of both Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949) are here straightened out. Appropriate for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and general readers.-R.D. Thornton, emeritus, SUNY College at New Paltz
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
The scripts and other writings pub lished here were written by Orwell when he worked full time for the BBC from 1940 to 1943 (actually, they were known to be on file in the BBC Ar chives but were apparently not regard ed as important enough to be pub lished). This collection, in need of more generous and scholarly footnoting but with a helpful introduction by the edi tor, includes previously unprinted ad aptations Orwell made of some of his favorite stories of Silone, H.G.Wells, and Anatole France, as well as 250 let ters he wrote to writers and contribu tors to the BBC. A poetry radio maga zine called Voice and a story with chapters written by separate authors commissioned by Orwell are also re printed here. Yet to be published are scripts Orwell wrote for the BBC while not a full-time employee (and whose copyrights are owned by publishers other than the BBC). A welcome addi tion to Orwelliana. Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, English Dept., Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Orwell fans will find this hitherto unsung period of his life during WW II intriguing. Employed by the BBC as a producer of talk shows and various literary and political commentaries, Orwell's experiences are interesting in themselves, but also provide an insight into his postwar books, Animal Farm and 1984. The editor has rummaged in the vast BBC files and done a fine job of research and detective work. Many of Orwell's scripts were discovered and together with his official correspondence and collaboration with writers such as T.S. Eliot, William Empson, E.M. Forster and others, provide an excellent picture of wartime radio, propaganda and censorship. Orwell, himself too ill for regular duty, was brought into the BBC to handle broadcasts to India in August 1941 and lasted until November 1943. Ironically, one of his books had been banned in India and his decided political orneriness made him a problematic bureaucrat. He evidentally enjoyed the demanding work and maneuvered through the maze of red tape surprisingly well. Some thought he wasted himself in this work, but it is clear that he benefitted considerably by being worked hard and paid well. He himself always claimed to have liked being there. However, his reactions to the Ministry of the Interior's censorship policies, the enthusiasm for Basic English (which he shared), and the government's general imperial policy, coalesced to form what we now know as 1984. Orwell enthusiasts will be rewarded by this book. For those who are less familiar with him, West's introduction is enough to make them want to read more of Orwell. The selections are enriched by West's judicious use of supporting material gleaned from interviews he had with people who knew and worked with Orwell during the war. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.