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Extended Audio Sample Orwell: The Authorized Biography, by Michael Shelden Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (84 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Shelden Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In his probing and revelatory biography of one of the great prose stylists of the twentieth century, acclaimed biographer Michael Shelden breaks new ground in the evocation of George Orwell’s personal life and in our understanding of his art. Based on original interviews, previously undiscovered letters and documents, and astute literary detective work, Orwell is the major biography of one of the great yet elusive literary figures of our time.

Shelden reveals the author of 1984 and Animal Farm as a lively, engaging literary personality. Few writers can rival Orwell’s experience of history: being shot through the throat in the Spanish Civil War, holding the position of colonial police superintendent in Burma, and living through the Blitz. Shelden restores a sense of drama and passion to this writer’s life and shows him to be a captivating, even heroic character struggling against great public and private turmoil.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This life of Orwell furnishes new details of the career of a writer the influence of whose honesty and decency has been far greater than his literary accomplishments.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Shelden] offers a sympathetic but balanced account of Orwell’s life, and communicates well the wonderfully lucid, lively, and still very relevant quality of his writings.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Intrinsically interesting…What Shelden does best is show how such events and circumstances as war and conflicts with authority shaped Orwell’s writing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Not a dry summation of facts and figures, obsessions and works, this book brims with humor and compassion…A once-thought shy observer of humanity (and inhumanity) here becomes a passionate democratic socialist. A fine work.”


  • A 1992 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Biography/Autobiography
  • A 1991 New York Times Notable Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Hans P. | 1/17/2013

    " One of the best literary biographies I've ever had the pleasure to consume. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Aaron Lee | 10/28/2012

    " A very good thorough biography of George Orwell. Enjoyable to read, with many insightful observations of how his life was reflected in his writing of the day. "

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About the Author

Michael Shelden spent twelve years as a feature writer for the Daily Telegraph in London and as a fiction critic for the Baltimore Sun. He has written several biographies, including Orwell, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. He is currently a professor of English at Indiana State University.