23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 37

Anthony Powell

I liked Michael Shelden's Orwell (Heinemann, £18.50 ). The story is told in a readable, straightforward manner, but Shelden is utterly wrong to suppose Sonia Brownell married Orwell for money. She was the least mercenary person in the world. She married him mainly, I feel sure, because Cyril Connolly told her she must.

Robert Byron's Letters Home (John Murray, £20) interested me, especially his maternal domination, and picture of Byron's Eton life. John Wells' Rude Words (Macmillan, £17.50) contained some very funny stories about the London Library. I should like to add Learning to Look (Heinemann, £20) by John Pope-Hennessy because, although a bit chilly, it is a rare example these days of an autobiography written with intelligence.