Book Review: Down and Out In Paris and London by George Orwell

Having enjoyed his memoir about his Spanish Civil War experiences, I tracked down this George Orwell book, a non-fiction piece about his time living a hand to mouth existence in the poor parts of Paris and a brief time on the streets of London.


Orwell’s writing is simple with no frills, but he has a keen eye for detail and injustice and vivid, unflinching descriptions of the squalor and hardships. Throughout this his view is compassionate and outraged, angrily discussing the negative attitudes that the tramps have to deal with and the system which fails to address their problems.

At times it is dated and some of his views on different nationalities hint at bigotry. But Orwell discusses his time with honesty and an engaging insight. He has particular skill in recounting stories and observing people and their quirks.

The world has changed but you at times it shows how attitudes take longer to change. Interesting and engaging, if a tad bleak.

Verdict: An interesting view at what life was like for the poor in the early 20th century and one man’s experiences of them. Orwell writes well, with insight and compassion and unafraid to offer his opinion on what he feels are unjust or corrupt systems. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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