extent created modern American popnculture.”Even in the supreme blacknachievement of jazz . . , Jewish musicians—Goodman,nGershwin, Mezzrow,nand Whiteman among others—not onlynplayed the music, but also served as criticsnand interpreters. In a racially controllednprewar America, it was the Jew whonpopularized black life, transforming anfolk tradition into an art mode.” Blacks,nwho “saw their uniqueness compromised”nby this cultural appropriation, inevitablynresented Jewish success, believing thatn”the gain and fame of their culture wentnto the accursed Jewish cultural middleman,nwhile the purity of their performancenremained undersupported andnundernourished.” But it is doubtful thatnblack cultural forms would ever have enjoyedntheir triumph without the help ofnthe “cultural middlemen” who made itnacceptable for white audiences.nIn making these observations, Horowitznhas displayed considerable courage. Thenethnic roots of American culture arenburied under tons of official mythology,nthe slag of the melting-pot ideology, andngiven the choice between truth and legend,nmost writers and publishers will alwaysn”print the legend.” The childhoodnportrayed in Daydreams and Nightmaresnis a gritty little piece of reality, the irritantnfrom which pearls are made.nThomas Fleming is the editor ofnChronicles.nA Writer for AllnSeasonsnby George CorenOrwell: The Authorized Biographynby Michael SheldennNew York: HarperCollins;n497 pp., $25.00nE .B. White described Henry DavidnThoreau, that thorny individualist,nas a regular hair shirt of a man; and nonmatter how much we may like the Thoreaunof Walden and his other writing, fewnof us could bear having him as a neighbor.nSuch, too, is the case of Eric Blair,nwho would become George Orwell; butnwho, regardless of his name, was from boyhoodna difficult and complicated humannbeing, one probably far more likable onn38/CHRONICLESnpaper than in person.nWhen we learn something like thenwhole story of Blair’s passage through St.nCyprian’s School in southwest England,nwe are much more inclined to see the sidenof the embatded headmaster and his aggressivenwife than we are in reading Orwell’sn”Such, Such Were the Joys,” an essaynthat may turn any of us against allnboarding schools. Orwell, in looking back,nviewed his as a microcosm of the totalitariannstate. However imperfect most ofnthem are, the worst seldom rival, say,nthe Third Reich or the Soviet Union fornexquisite bmtality levied against minoritiesnand protesters and all others out of stepnwith phalanx of jackboots marching downnthe main thoroughfare of the state.nGeorge Orwell, as Samuel Hynes hasnobserved, was not a great writer in thensense that he forged an overmasteringnbook or permanently affected any literarynmode, even the essay, of which he wasnthe most brilliant practitioner in Englishnin our century. But Orwell made a greaternimpact on general culture and the commonnman than any other English writernin our century except Winston Churchillnand perhaps H.G. Wells. He did so by angritty and unflinching pursuit of the truthnas a writer and political thinker that makesneven megalomaniacs and monomaniacsnseem laggards by comparison.nThis compulsiveness sometimes divertednOrwell from a reasonable coursenin his public and private life, shundng himnmore nearly toward madness than sainthood.nHe was not simply courageous butnfearless in a way that often seems insane,nas Michael Shelden makes plain innseveral sequences. Orwell took absurdnchances in the front lines during the SpanishnCivil War and was shot in the throatnin consequence; later, not long before hisndeath, he endangered the lives of a boatingnparty by being oblivious to the perilsnof the situation—being at sea in an opennboat that had lost its motor and thatnwas being drawn into a whiripool. At suchnmoments Orwell seems a caricature drawnnfrom a boy’s adventure yarn—a figure henwould have immediately recognized in anothernperson or within the covers of anbook. He was also so set on seeing the aftermathnof the war in Europe that he, althoughnseriously ill himself, was abroadnwhen his first wife underwent surgery (andndid not survive it). And, although he wasndevoted to her in some ways, he was notnfaithful to her—odd behavior for the mannoften called the conscience of his generation.nOrwell wrecked his health for rea­nnnsons that seem more neariy frivolous andnwhimsical than anything else.nSo you may emerge from reading Mr.nShelden’s strong biography feeling dashednabout the person who, against very considerablenodds, made himself into a fairnto middling novelist, a good broadcasternfor the BBC, a superb satirist, and angreat essayist. Not a man for all seasonsnbut a writer for all seasons. A writernwho could stand up for common humanitynand for the common toad; a writernwho could celebrate the joys of ordinarynlife; a writer who could attack political stupiditynand savagery of all stripes, whethernin England or elsewhere; a writer who didnmore than any other in our time to up-n. hold human decency through the mediumnof the written and spoken word.nThe author of Friends of Promise: CyrilnConnolly and the World of “Horizon,”nShelden came well equipped to write annew biography of Orwell. This book,nhowever, was not authorized by SonianBrownell, Orwell’s second wife and latenwidow, who did her best to prevent a biographynfrom being written and thus carrynout her husband’s quixotic wishes.nShelden does add new material to the earliernaccounts of Orwell’s life by PeternStansky and William Abrahams and, morenrecently, Bernard Crick. Stansky and Abrahamsnhave written two volumes that takenus only to 1938; Crick’s life of Orwellnis more detailed but more laboriousnthan Shelden’s. I am glad to have thisnfaster paced and more readable lifenbut think that the flag under which itnsails—^Authorized Biography—is closernto being the Jolly Roger than anythingnelse. Anyone seriously interested innOrwell will want to read Shelden and willnbe well repaid, but the serious readernshould remember that much of the writingnabout Orwell, from George Woodcock’snThe Crystal Spirit onward, remainsnpermanently valuable.nDuring the last year of his life, when henwas failing rapidly from tuberculosis, Orwellnpondered the meaning of Gandhi’snlife and reflected on ordinary humannexistence versus sainthood. “Sainthood isn… a thing that human beings mustnavoid,” he observed. He reached thisnconclusion after presenting the heart ofnthe matter about our frail nature: “Thenessence of being human is that one doesnnot seek perfection, that one is sometimesnwilling to commit sins for the sake of loyalty,nthat one does not push ascetismnto the point where it makes friendly intercoursenimpossible, and that one is pre-n