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The Intelligent Womans Guide to Socialism and Capitalism [Hardcover]

Bernard Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 494 pages
  • Publisher: Constable & Co; Reprint June 1928 edition (1928)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006DA8US
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,935,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Excellent condition, patterned gold boards very strong, with light bumping to corners and scuffing, spine very strong. Pages tanned, crisp, clean and flat. The classic, political be all and end all description of socialist and marxist thought. Assumes the audience knows nothing, and explains everything from the very beginning. (his)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird 4 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ran across this book purely by accident and the title made me laugh. So I bought it. Not what I'd call one of his best but for the time it was pretty meaningful. Worth the read.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the twentieth century's greatest... 8 Mar 2004
By David Clouston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism" was published in 1927, when George Bernard Shaw was at the very pinnacle of his success as a playwright. (He had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for "St Joan" two years earlier.)
It purported to be a political primer for the "intelligent woman" who knew little or nothing of politics. This literary device of addressing an imaginary, ignorant audience allowed Shaw to start from the beginning. Clear your mind of all preconceptions, he said, and let us first look at the facts. What are the conditions under which the mass of mankind lives in the industrialized world? What is "politics"? What is the real meaning of the words "capitalism" and "socialism" and "communism"? What is the present state of society if examined without any of these labels? Why is it like this?
Having cleared the ground, Shaw then addressed that most fundamental of all social questions, the question to which his entire adult life had been devoted. How is the wealth of the world to be divided up?
Shaw was (to put it mildly) a committed socialist. And The Guide pulled no punches in asserting that socialism is the only sane answer to that question. However, he played scrupulously fair in his presentation of the facts. He described with absolute clarity the causes, conditions and present (1927) state of private property, political parties, banking, revolutions, facism, the stock market, credit, the national debt, universal adult suffrage, investment, strikes and poverty.
In short, the primary value of this extraordinary work was its conceptual clarity. Whether or not readers shared Shaw's opinions, merely by reading the book they could not help but greatly - and usefully - increase their understanding of their world.
The question for modern readers, seventy-five years later, is whether The Guide can help us to understand the modern world.
The answer is Yes.
As a test, borrow a copy of the book and read the chapter entitled "Banking". Just that one chapter. If you do not understand at least twice as much about what a bank is, and does, than you did before, then you need not bother with anything else in the book and you can return it with thanks. Otherwise, as a clincher, read the chapter entitled "Revolutions". I will be very surprised if you do not then buy your own copy.
That said, there are a couple of traps. Firstly, Shaw's English is now somewhat dated. He often uses very much longer sentences, with more subordinate clauses, than we commonly do today. This is ultimately helpful in conveying his meaning, but not immediately so to the modern reader. The Guide is therefore somewhat wearing to read for any length of time. It is not an easy book to skim.
Secondly, since Shaw does have a definite polemical intention (he wants us to become socialists), and since few writers have ever been more skilful at delivering a message while appearing not to, the reader has to be permanently on guard against taking Shaw's statements as facts. He is expert at the art of covertly leading readers to his own conclusions. The effort required to resist all this is also rather exhausting.
These shortcomings aside, and they are significant, The Guide stands as one of the great literary political works of the twentieth century. It is also one of the few genuinely hopeful contributions to the discipline we now call sociology. This reflects neither an earlier, cheerier worldview (in 1927 in England there was every reason to despair), nor a utopian naïveté (Shaw had a clearer sense than most of the horrors of which mankind is capable). No, the sense of hope that suffuses The Guide derives from Shaw's own inextinguishable, strangely realistic generosity of spirit.
In comparing Shaw with his famous fellow-socialist author H.G.Wells, C.P.Snow commented that "Shaw was a kinder, but colder man". He was. And both his kindness and his coldness inform The Guide: matchless detachment, combined with the utmost charity and reasonableness.
"The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism" was George Bernard Shaw's political magnum opus. He had spent much of the previous forty years writing about politics and society, often in the guise of drama, musical criticism or "prefaces" to his published plays. And he continued to do so for the remainder of his life, the last major political work appearing only a few years before his death in 1950.
But this book is It. "The Intelligent Woman's Guide" summarizes all his thinking, all his reading, all his public speaking, all his experience, all his hopes and all his fears for the future. It is the culmination of a lifetime dedicated to the betterment of mankind by political means. In his twenty more years of work - including "The Apple Cart", "Too True to be Good", and "Everybody's Political What's What" - Shaw never wrote anything as good again. There was nothing more he needed to say.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STEP RIGHT UP FOR YOUR MBA 16 Jan 2012
By Bishop Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This timeless book, published originally in 1927, is the solution to rising college tuition fees. For a complete liberal arts education, look no further than this 500 page treatise in economics, political science, history, sociology, ethics; in short all of what constitutes a basic college education. It is all delivered to you with engaging Shavian wit and makes your college experience brief, economical, and utterly painless. For your diploma you can simply print out and post your review of this awesome work on the www for all to see and then mail out copies of your resume with the absolute confidence that you'll ace every job interview with erudition and grace. Shaw purportedly spent 5 years in compiling and organizing this analysis of the society we live in, what has kept it moving along, and how we can live within it to our advantage and even change it for the better. It is an astonishing literary achievement, quite as accessible to intelligent gentlemen as it is to the intelligent ladies to whom it is affectionately addressed. High school grads! Forget about years of loan payments, midnight oil, and eight-o'clocks. Just read this book, and apply for those jobs miles ahead of your plodding and soon-to-be impoverished peers.
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably more relevent now than ever! 22 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Absolute genius. Shaw gives a understandable and accurate explantion of socialism and capitalism. It seems particularly revelvant in today's societal struggles with class, race, and politics. A book everyone who is interested in social justice should read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars G. B. Shaw: Intelligent Women's Guide ....... 6 Sep 2010
By Anthony L. Linhardt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It was written in the 20-s related to Engeland, but it is still actual and fresh for today.
Easy to read and most educational.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STEP RIGHT UP FOR YOUR MBA ! 19 Jan 2010
By Bishop Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book, published in 1927, is the solution to rising college tuition fees. For a complete liberal arts education, look no further than this 500 page treatise in economics, political science, history, sociology, ethics; in short all of what constitutes a basic college education. It is all delivered to you with engaging Shavian wit and makes your college experience brief, economical, and utterly painless. For your diploma you can simply print out and post your Amazon review of this awesome work on the www for all to see and then mail out copies of your resume with the absolute confidence that you'll ace every job interview with erudition and grace. Your problem will only be which offers to turn down. Shaw himself purportedly spent 5 years in an effort to analyze the society we live in, what has kept it moving along, and how to live within it to our advantage and even change it for the better. It is an astonishing, timeless literary achievement, quite accessible to intelligent gentlemen as well as to the intelligent ladies to whom it is affectionately addressed. High school grads! Forget about years of loan payments, midnight oil, and eight-o'clocks. Just read this book, and apply for those jobs miles ahead of your plodding and soon-to-be impoverished peers.
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