"It might be ancient history for most, but for those, like I, who do make him a "Saint," Orwell surely was a socialist and at one point in his life a devout Marxist."
True enough. Although in his later years (and especially during the Second World War) George seemed to have learned his lesson. Given the examples of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, Orwell figured out that socialism could never be implemented on a world-scale (and that to attempt to would lead to murderous tyranny of the worst kind), and that it would at least, have to make some compromises with capitalism if it was to survive at all. He mostly objected to capitalism on reasonable grouds, i.e. the hypocrisy the often accompanies many aspects of it.
If "Homage to Catalonia" is anything, it is the diary of young, idealistic man having his idealism shattered by reality. Orwell left Spain wounded, ill with tuberculosis (which eventually killed him), disilusioned, and with the more rabid revolutionary elements seeking his arrest, and God knows what else.
I've recommended this before, but for anyone who wants to experience Orwell outside of his "classics" (i.e. "Homage", "Road to Wiggan Pier", "1984", "Animal Farm") should make an effort to get their hands on a copy of the "Complete Essays of George Orwell", published by Penguin Books' Everyman's Library. It's quite lengthy (over 1200 pages) and consists of Orwell's newspaper and magazine articles, book reviews and pamphleteering (I find the "As I Please..." series of WWII newspaper columns to be wonderful reading). In these essays and articles, Orwell discusses the motivations and facts behind what were to eventually become his classic novels, which makes for fascinating reading.
P.S.: Orwell's "The Lion and The Unicorn" (or "England, Your England") is, in my opinion, one of tghe most patriotic pieces of litterature ever written, both because his love of country is so obvious, but because he was willing to tell the truth as he saw it.
Also note that Orwell's esssays are some of the best examples of clear writing in the English language.
When I was a high school sophmore (in the days before electricity), my English teacher told us that we would learn to write better if we read Orwell because he was a very clear thinker. He believed that clear writing (something in short supply today) was primarily a product of clear thinking (something even more precious today).