YMMV / Homage to Catalonia

  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped and Vindicated by History: Like most of Orwell's work, Homage is not the least bit subtle about what he thinks; as a result, the book received mixed reviews when it was published and sold poorly, since much of what he thought was not what his contemporaries wanted to hear. However, it was what they needed to hear, and it remains every bit as relevant today as it did when it was first published. In particular, his critique of the press often reads like it was written yesterday (references to Communism aside), and his depiction of Stalinism was something that most of his contemporaries had no desire to hear, but wound up being completely and utterly accurate. The events depicted in this book reinforced the anti-totalitarian views that would come to be Orwell's central focus for the remainder of his life (and also his commitments to democratic socialism), and his account of what happened during the Spanish Civil War now tends to be regarded as the definitive first-person source. For anarchists the "Need to Be Dropped" trope is doubly in effect, since the book is also regarded as a definitive account of a functional example of anarchy. The book's reputation began to build in The '50s when it was republished with an introduction by Lionel Trilling, and these days it's common to hear this cited in the same breath as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four as Orwell's three greatest works.
  • Write Who You Know: Orwell's commander in the POUM, Georges Kopp, possibly inspired the character of O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four; see this biography excerpt.