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ORWELL: The War Commentaries by W.J.--Ed. West

ORWELL: The War Commentaries


Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1986
Publisher: Pantheon

During WW II, Orwell wrote weekly radio commentaries for the BBC. They have been unearthed and are presented here with an informative introduction by West. Orwell fans will find his comments lucid and trenchant, even as they are aware of their propaganda aims. Defending the Allied war effort and goals against the claims of the Germans and Japanese was an immense job. Orwell was supplied with scripts of almost all the Axis broadcasts, and from these he chose what themes to follow in an effort to put as good a face as possible on issues affecting the war. Directed at India, the commentaries had to persuade the Indian people that their best interests lay in cooperating with the British, who would be far more likely to grant them their independence than the Japanese. In this writing, Orwell had to deal with censors and follow a line laid down by the Ministry of Information. That he was able to do this and yet seem straightforward and convincing is a tribute to his skill. It is also clear that as a propagandist, he developed a feel for disinformation that must have aided him in writing Animal Farm and 1984. For readers intrigued by this critical period in Orwell's development, and in the art of propaganda.