The Road to Wigan Pier is a book by the English writer George Orwell, first published in 1937. The first half of this work documents his sociological investigations of the bleak living conditions among the working class in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World War II. The second half is a long essay on his middle-class upbringing, and the development of his political conscience, questioning British attitudes towards socialism. Orwell states plainly that he himself is in favour of socialism, but feels it necessary to point out reasons why many people who would benefit from socialism, and should logically support it, are in practice likely to be strong opponents.
The book grapples “with the social and historical reality of Depression suffering in the north of England—Orwell does not wish merely to enumerate evils and injustices, but to break through what he regards as middle-class oblivion—Orwell’s corrective to such falsity comes first by immersion of his own body—a supreme measure of truth for Orwell—directly into the experience of misery.”