The author of Animal Farm and 1984 was a brilliant, eccentric, complicated man. Born into a comfortable English family and educated at Eton, he was, at various times, a member of the colonial police force in Burma, a tramp, a dishwasher, a critic and journalist, a fighter in the Spanish Civil War, a teacher and a shopkeeper.
In the summer of 1983, radio producer Stephen Wadhams spent eight weeks crisscrossing Britain and Spain interviewing more than seventy people who had known Orwell for a five-hour CBC radio documentary broadcast on the first day of 1984. The result was a unique resource: more than fifty hours of interviews with a huge range of people, all of whom are now dead.
In this fascinating memoir, their recollections of Orwell are woven with biographical detail to produce a very human portrait of one of the greatest writers of our time. The list of contributors includes well-known names like Stephen Spender, Malcolm Muggeridge and Lord Astor, but also the unknown men and women who inspired much of Orwell's writing: the men who fought beside him in Spain; classmates at Eton; his first girlfriends and confidantes; childhood friends and family members, including his adopted son Richard.
In the weeks after Donald Trump's inauguration, 1984 with its critiques of propaganda and doublespeak hit number one on the Amazon bestseller lists. The Orwell Tapes brings its author to vivid life.