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Born Eric Blair in India in 1903 George Orwell was educated as a scholarship student at prestigious boarding schools in England Because of his background--he famously described his family as lower-upper-middle class--he never quite fit in and felt oppressed and outraged by the dictatorial control that the schools he attended exercised over their students lives After graduating from Eton Orwell decided to forego college in order to work as a British Imperial Policeman in Burma He hated his duties in Burma where he was required to enforce the strict laws of a political regime he despised His failing health which troubled him throughout his life caused him to return to England on convalescent leave Once back in England he quit the Imperial Police and dedicated himself to becoming a writer Inspired by Jack Londons 1903 The People of the Abyss which detailed Londons experience in the slums of London Orwell bought ragged clothes from a second-hand store and went to live among the very poor in London After reemerging he published a book about this experience entitled Down and Out in Paris and London He later lived among destitute coal miners in northern England an experience that caused him to give up on capitalism in favor of democratic socialism In 1936 he traveled to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War where he witnessed firsthand the nightmarish atrocities committed by fascist political regimes The rise to power of dictators such as Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union inspired Orwells mounting hatred of totalitarianism and political authority Orwell devoted his energy to writing novels that were politically charged first with Animal Farm in 1945 then with 1984 in 1949 1984 is one of Orwells best-crafted novels and it remains one of the most powerful warnings ever issued against the dangers of a totalitarian society In Spain Germany and the Soviet Union Orwell had witnessed the danger of absolute
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