Down and Out in Paris and London
George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute is a moving tour of the underworld of society.
Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties, it documents his "first contact with poverty": sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses of last resort, working as a dishwasher in Paris, surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps, a star-gazing pavement artist and a starving Russian ex-army captain. Exposing a shocking, previously hidden world to readers, Orwell gave a human face to the statistics of poverty for the first time. In doing so, he found his voice as a writer.