Orwell’s Lives

  • Ian Williams
Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)


This chapter considers Orwell by Gordon Bowker and Orwell: Life and Times by Scott Lucas. In a contrarian way, it suggests Orwell was a hopeless optimist: in Nineteen Eighteen-Four , he thought that rulers and indeed ruled, would care enough about history to want to rewrite it! Did George W. Bush know or care? Would President Donald Trump? The ignorance surrounding the 2003 Iraq War was truly Orwellian and his work gives intellectual tools to understand manufactured amnesia and false memories on this scale. In stark contrast, Scott Lucas’s biography is effectively a sustained polemic against its subject. That has, in Orwell’s words about totalitarian language, “a curious mouthing sort of quality, as of someone who is choking with rage and can never quite hit on the words he wanted,” and it is a prescient description of Lucas’s treatment.


Hitchens Orwell Gordon Bowker Scott Lucas Peter Smollet 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bard Center for Globalization and International AffairsManhattanUSA

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