George Orwell died on January 21st 1950, only 47 years old. Short though his life was, his achievements earned him a place in history. His Homage to Catalonia, describing his experiences as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, brought him fame, but with it the enmity of the hard, pro-Soviet left because of his indictment of the duplicity of the Communist forces in Spain.
Orwell's passionate concern for the underdog and the poor shines through his writings, as does his fervent opposition to the lies and distortions used by some to advance political ideologies. Some of his essays on the use and abuse of the English language earned the status of enduring classics.
Although on the left himself, two of his works, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four constitute the most effective exposures of the fraudulent brutality that underlay Soviet Communism. Indeed, the latter work, completed just before his death, bequeathed us the vocabulary that describes totalitarianism, with phrases such as "Big Brother," "thought police" and "doublethink."
Orwell genuinely loved liberty and had a deep affection for the British people and their way of life. His ability to project his honesty into his writing has earned him a place among the top British authors of his century. In the fight for freedom he played a significant role, and is rightly remembered and appreciated.