1984: THE LARGER EVILS by W.J. West

by JF

REVIEW: Crucial Scraps of Evidence that Escaped the Flames of the Memory Hole

If you want to know who Orwell had the hots for or what he liked eating for dinner, try some other book, some major book publishing house bio on Orwell. This book is a little different, you see. This book is for people who want to confirm whether those way-out-there rumours are true or not–that George Orwell, i.e. the writer Eric Blair, may have had some intimate and powerful ties to British intelligence. It is a marvel how every single major book publisher’s biography of Orwell omits this information completely–even the fact that such rumours exist at all about the man. Nix. Nothing. Zilch. Guess that’s why Orwell called it the Memory Hole.

At any rate, author W.J. West offers more insight into the real Orwell than any of those thicker, tawdrier bios. He’s stuck offering up mere circumstantial evidence over the question of whether or not George Orwell was MI5, as goes one rumour. But be advised, the amount of circumstantial evidence West cites is, at the very least, guaranteed to raise the eyebrows more than a little bit. And whether or not Orwell was MI5 or MI-anything, it needs to be admitted that, quite often, should a person really have such ties to the intelligence field, if the powers-that-be don’t want the concrete facts to get out into the light, they’re just not going to get out. So we’re relegated to sifting through the circumstantial stuff. But read it yourself and see if West does not make a very compelling case. I’ll tease you with but one example of the kind of stuff West points to: Folks, did you know that after Orwell’s death, one thing found among his personal belongings was a British secret service-issue revolver? Again, how come I never read that in the major book publishing house biographies of the man?!

But it’s not just limited to Orwell, as West shows. Turns out, BOTH of Orwell’s wives either had ties to British intelligence, or again there were many suspicious indicators of such ties being responsible for their places of work and the nature thereof. Orwell’s first wife, for example, worked in a position which required a secured clearance at the British censorship bureau during the war–yes, the British and the Americans censor their news media quite heavily. Welcome to Kansas, Dorothy. And these wives of Orwell, the timing with which they kept landing these politically sensitive and prestigious jobs–whenever Orwell was in most dire need of the monetary help that would enable him to keep on with his writing–man, this kind of fortuitousness is quite conspicuous. Clearly, intelligence ties or some other kind of ties, Orwell had some high connections somewhere.

All things considered, for the serious Orwell fan, this was an extremely tantalizing read. Go for it.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
5/2007

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