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Looking Backward: 2000-1887

Edward Bellamy

Book Overview: 

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy. It was the third largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up more than a century later. He finds himself in the same location (Boston, Massachusetts) but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the U.S.A. has been transformed into a socialist utopia. This book outlines Bellamy’s complex thoughts about improving the future, and is an indictment of industrial capitalism. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .be conducted by a set of irresponsible corporations and syndicates of private persons at their caprice and for their profit, were intrusted to a single syndicate representing the people, to be conducted in the common interest for the common profit. The nation, that is to say, organized as the one great business corporation in which all other corporations were absorbed; it became the one capitalist in the place of all other capitalists, the sole employer, the final monopoly in which all previous and lesser monopolies were swallowed up, a monopoly in the profits and economies of which all citizens shared. The epoch of trusts had ended in The Great Trust. In a word, the people of the United States concluded to assume the conduct of their own business, just as one hundred odd years before they had assumed the conduct of their own government, organizing now for industrial purposes on precisely the same grounds that they had then organized for political purposes. At last, stra. . . Read More