In the 1930s George Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. He went beyond his assignment to investigate the employed as well. Not one to observe from the sidelines, Orwell shared the experiences of the coal miners, living in foul lodgings, subsisting on a meager diet, and going down into the hellish, back-breaking mines. What he saw and recorded helped clarify his feelings about socialism. In this book he pointedly tells why socialism, the only remedy to the shocking conditions he had witnessed, repelled "so many normal decent people." His rebuke was so stinging that it brought a rebuttal from one of his sponsors, published as a foreward to the original edition of "The Road to Wigan Pier" and also included here.