Between the Bullet and the Lie: Essays on Orwell | Left Wing Books

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Between the Bullet and the Lie: Essays on Orwell

272 pages
Price: $17.95 (USD)

“Rather than provide literary criticism or biography, Kristian Williams is most concerned in this felicitous collection to derive George Orwell’s method—the process he used to translate personal experiences and worldly explorations into democratic anti-capitalist principles, and convey them to broad audiences in an irresistible fashion.”—Andrew Cornell, author of Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century

Old debates about democracy vs. socialism vs. fascism are back. Missing from today’s versions are the voices of moral clarity, those that challenge us to be our best selves in difficult times. Kristian Williams has mined the intellect of a man who, sixty-seven years after his death, still has much to offer readers. Between the Bullet and the Lie highlights the relationship George Orwell saw between aesthetics, ethics, and politics; the difference between honesty and integrity; the corruption of language; the importance of observation and evidence; and the many failures of the Left. The result is not a study of sacred decrees from Orwell, but an application of his thought to political and literary questions that trouble us today.


Foreword, by David Goodway | Williams’s Orwell 
Introduction | “An Age Like This” | Orwell in His Time, and Ours

Part One | Reflections on Orwell 

One | “Imperfect Creatures” | Letters and Diaries .
Two | “Not Too Good” | Orwell, Wilde, and the Saints 
Three | On Common Decency 
Four | “Between the Bullet and the Lie” | Ethics in Warfare

Part Two | Orwellian Reflections 

Five | “A Place Worth Living In” | Notes on Patriotism and Nationalism 
Six | “Strict Discipline Combined with Social Equality” | The Question of Revolutionary Leadership
Seven | “Meanwhile, What About Socialism?” | Why the Left Fails 
Eight | “Political Writing Is Bad Writing” | Anarchism and the English Language 
Nine | The Tower of Babel and Other Confusions | A Reply to CrimethInc 
Ten | “All but Hopeless” | Pessimism in Politics
Eleven |“The Struggle Would Continue, the Idea Would Survive” | The Spanish Civil War and the Cultural Imagination 

Appendix | Reading Orwell | A Study Plan 



About the Author

Kristian Williams is the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination, and co-editor of Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency.