In 1936 George Orwell was commissioned to visit areas of mass unemployment in the North of England, and The Road to Wigan Pier is a powerful description of the poverty he witnessed there, published with an introduction by Richard Hoggart in Penguin Modern Classics.
A searing account of George Orwell's observations of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire in the 1930s, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, cramped slum housing, dangerous mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity. It crystallized the ideas that would be found in Orwell's later works and novels, and remains a powerful portrait of poverty, injustice and class divisions in Britain.
If you enjoyed The Road to Wigan Pier you might like Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'True genius ... all his anger and frustration found their first proper means of expression in Wigan Pier'
Peter Ackroyd, The Times
'It is easy to see why the book created and still creates so sharp an impact ... exceptional immediacy, freshness and vigour, opinionated and bold ... Above all, it is a study of poverty and, behind that, of the strength of class-divisions'