Looking Backward, 2000-1887

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Modern library, 1917 - Twentieth century - 276 pages
4 Reviews
 

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Simply awful.
This "novel" lacks any characteristic of a story. There is essentially no plot. The characters are flat. The setting, which is in the distant future and therefore would seemingly be
interesting, is barely mentioned. The romance, if it can be called that, is so underdeveloped that it barely exists.
As social commentary, I understand its purpose. But, as someone fairly well traversed in all wakes of socialist theory and literature, this is the saddest argument I've read yet. There are countless paradoxes and pitfalls the author falls into, of which specifically I can leave future readers to discover for themselves should they find themselves in the misfortune of reading this book. Most of his arguments, when traced back for evidence, end up relying entirely on assumption.
Don't let others delude you with "his predictions are so accurate," and "this book was a bestseller in its day." He barely talks about the future society. His invented "credit cards" are nothing like today's, and his "shopping malls" are anything but. Moreover, while this book was a best seller, it quickly fell out from any progress it had at becoming canonical. Twilight and Sarah Palin's Going Rogue were also best sellers. It means nothing.
All in all, Bellamy can't formulate well supported theory and can't write. Don't waste your time. If you're looking for social commentary set in the future, pick up 1984, Brave New World, Zamyatin's We, Fahrenheit 451, and countless others. This is garbage.
 

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I think Joseph Stalin would have loved this book. It's communism in a nutshell, not a Socialist Utopia the progressives make it out to be.

Selected pages

Contents

I
v
II
12
III
18
IV
28
V
34
VI
44
VII
49
VIII
58
XVI
139
XVII
146
XVIII
158
XIX
162
XX
171
XXI
176
XXII
183
XXIII
200

IX
66
X
78
XI
87
XII
97
XIII
110
XIV
121
XV
129
XXIV
205
XXV
208
XXVI
221
XXVII
240
XXVIII
252
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Page 220 - Ruth Elton'? — how different is the course which Berrian takes, and with what tremendous effect he enforces the principle which he states : ' Over the unborn our power is that of God, and our responsibility like His toward us. As we acquit ourselves toward them, so let Him deal with us.
Page 68 - A credit corresponding to his share of the annual product of the nation is given to every citizen on the public books at the beginning of each year, and a credit card issued him with which he procures at the public storehouses, found in every community, whatever he desires whenever he desires it. This
Page 163 - of all this crime, the taproot of a vast poison growth, which the machinery of law, courts, and police could barely prevent from choking your civilization outright. When we made the nation the sole trustee of the wealth of the people, and guaranteed to all abundant maintenance, on the one hand abolishing want, and on the other
Page 44 - Extension!' he repeated, 'where is the extension?' 'In my day,' I replied, 'it was considered that the proper functions of government, strictly speaking, were limited to keeping the peace and defending the people against the public enemy, that is, to the military and police powers.' ^ \ 'And, in heaven's name, who are the public enemies?
Page 51 - demand, it is inferred that it is thought more arduous. It is the business of the administration to seek constantly to equalize the attractions of the trades, so far as the conditions of labor in them are concerned, so that all trades shall be equally attractive to persons having natural tastes for them. This is done by making the
Page 71 - but I think you exaggerate the difficulty. Suppose a board of fairly sensible men were charged with settling the wages for all sorts of trades under a system which, like ours, guaranteed employment to all, while permitting the choice of avocations. Don't you see that, however unsatisfactory the first adjustment might be, the mistakes would
Page 100 - the lowest class, and most of this number are recent apprentices, all of whom expect to rise. Those who remain during the entire term of service in the lowest class are but a trifling fraction of the industrial army, and likely to be as deficient in sensibility to their position as in ability
Page 106 - Of course,' I replied; 'but the cases are not parallel. There is a sense, no doubt, in which all men are brothers; but this general sort of brotherhood is not to be compared, except for rhetorical purposes, to the brotherhood of blood, either as to its sentiment or its obligations.' 'There speaks the nineteenth century!
Page 163 - of misdemeanors, resulted from the inequality in the possessions of individuals; want tempted the poor, lust of greater gains, or the desire to preserve former gains, tempted the well-to-do. Directly or indirectly, the desire for money, which then meant every good thing, was the
Page 75 - I don't think there has been any change in human nature in that respect since your day. It is still so constituted that special incentives in the form of prizes, and advantages to be gained, are requisite to call out the best endeavors of the average man in any direction.

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