Orwell went to Spain in late 1936, and enlisted to fight for the POUM, an anti-Stalinist communist party. While there, he was shot in the neck and forced to flee the country after the OUM were declared an illegal organisation. Orwell’s experiences in Spain turned him decisively against Soviet communism, and the book’s criticisms of the Communists proved controversial at home – his usual publisher, Gollancz, would not print the book, which appeared in 1938 from Secker & Warburg.
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