Orwell has become one of the most potent and symbolic figures in western political thought. Even the adjective 'Orwellian' is now a byword for a particular way of thinking about life, literature and language yet, despite this iconic status, the man who was born Eric Blair in 1903 remains an enigma. Drawing on a mass of previously unseen material, D J Taylor offers a strikingly human portrait of the writer too often embalmed as a secular saint. Here is a man who, for all his outward unworldliness, effectively stage-managed his own life; who combined chilling detachment with warmth and gentleness, disillusionment with hope; who battled through illness to produce two of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth century. Moving and revealing, Taylor's Orwell is the biography we have all been waiting for, as vibrant, powerful and resonant as its extraordinary hero.