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Looking Backward 2000-1887 [Kindle Edition]

Edward Bellamy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £4.49
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Product Description

Review

"This edition is extremely welcome...the additional texts provide supporting material that makes this edition a truly invaluable resource." -- Ruth Levitas, University of Bristol

Product Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 358 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TRPNWA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,667 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward 2000-1887" remains the most successful and influential utopian novel written by an American writer mainly because the competition consists mostly of dystopian works, from Jack London's "The Iron Heel" to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," or science fiction works like Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Dispossessed." Still, I do not mean to give the impression that Bellamy's 1888 novel gets this honor by default. Magazine covers in 1984 were devoted to judging the track record of George Orwell's dystopian classic and I would argue that Bellamy deserves the same sort of consideration now that we have reached the 21st century. I certainly intend to use him to that end in my upcoming Utopian Images class.
At the end of the 19th century Bellamy creates a picture of a wonderful future society. Bellamy's protagonist is Julian West, a young aristocratic Bostonian who falls into a deep sleep while under a hypnotic trance in 1887 and ends up waking up in the year 2000 (hence the novel's sub-title). Finding himself a century in the future in the home of Doctor Leete, West is introduced to an amazing society, which is consistently contrasted with the time from which he has come. As much as this is a prediction of a future utopia, it is also a scathing attack on the ills of American life heading into the previous turn of the century. Bellamy’s sympathies are clearly with the progressives of that period.
"Looking Backward" does not have a narrative structure per se. Instead West is shown the wonders of Boston in the year 2000, with his hosts explaining the rationale behind the grand civic improvements. For example, he discovers that every body is happy and no one is either rich or poor, all because equality has been achieved.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A literary and social curiosity 14 Dec. 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This books is worth reading due to its historic significance. It is however quite badly written, as it is really a grand tour of the future world of the year 2000, and plot and character development are just means to an end,really. In the year 2000, women still leave men at the end of meals to discuss the real business of life over brandy and cigars.

Interestingly, costume in the year 2000 is not discussed, which would have been interesting.

Contemporary Socialists and Marxists held this book up to ridicule, one reason being that Bellamy appeared to think that many problems of life would be resolved by people being able to have live music piped into their homes via telephone, as well as an unlimited number of consumer goods delivered through pipes! The dismissive phrase used by William Morris was that it was a 'Cockney paradise,' meaning a brainless consumer binge, rather like the lyrics of the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

One other aspect of it held up to ridicule -by Victorian contemporaries- was the idea that people doing rotten dirty jobs would work shorter hours than people in-say-libraries. One contemporary satire of this book had 5,000 people working as gravediggers at a funeral, so that each person only had to work for five minutes or so.

Interestingly, the author uses the phrase 'credit card' for possibly the first time in human history, as his utopia's subsitute for money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time Travel Utopia 8 April 2009
By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Dover edition of Bellamy's classic is one of the most affordable ways to access this enduring time travel utopia. In its day this novel, and its sequel Equality, where so popular that they actually gave rise to a political movement of Nationalist or Bellamy Clubs. More recently it has been the inspiration to Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel's Participatory Economics project.

The story is one of an insomnaic plantation owner who employs mesmerism and an underground chamber to place himself in a state of suspended animation, unfortunately, like Ash Williams at the end of The Army of Darkness, he sleeps too long and awakens in the distant future.

The story then follows the central character being taken in by a future family, the shock and awe of his totally changed environment where no convention appears untouched, his personal crisis at not just the unfamiliar and undreamed of seachange in values and the economy but also the knowledge that everyone he once knew is now dead. With the passage of time our hero finds love with one of the future family's women and adapts to his new life.

While it is obvious that Bellamy has written a "novel of ideas", and consequently the writting can be a little wooden, but it is none the less a readable book in the same fashion of Well's time traveller fiction such as The Time Machine or When The Sleeper Awakes.

So far as the important of the political ideas goes, I think its very much mistaken to consider it a book infused with marxism, socialism or a radical agenda, instead it's simply futurology with some predictions about social trends which where not that far off the mark, at least with covered malls, credit cards, labour exchanges and radio broadcasting into peoples homes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward 2000-1887" remains the most successful and influential utopian novel written by an American writer mainly because the competition consists mostly of dystopian works, from Jack London's "The Iron Heel" to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," or science fiction works like Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Dispossessed." Still, I do not mean to give the impression that Bellamy's 1888 novel gets this honor by default. Magazine covers in 1984 were devoted to judging the track record of George Orwell's dystopian classic and I would argue that Bellamy deserves the same sort of consideration now that we have reached the 21st century. I certainly intend to use him to that end in my upcoming Utopian Images class.
At the end of the 19th century Bellamy creates a picture of a wonderful future society. Bellamy's protagonist is Julian West, a young aristocratic Bostonian who falls into a deep sleep while under a hypnotic trance in 1887 and ends up waking up in the year 2000 (hence the novel's sub-title). Finding himself a century in the future in the home of Doctor Leete, West is introduced to an amazing society, which is consistently contrasted with the time from which he has come. As much as this is a prediction of a future utopia, it is also a scathing attack on the ills of American life heading into the previous turn of the century. Bellamy's sympathies are clearly with the progressives of that period.
"Looking Backward" does not have a narrative structure per se. Instead West is shown the wonders of Boston in the year 2000, with his hosts explaining the rationale behind the grand civic improvements. For example, he discovers that every body is happy and no one is either rich or poor, all because equality has been achieved.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A reliable and efficient seller - and an excellent book that my grandchildren much enjoyed
Published 4 months ago by Peter B
2.0 out of 5 stars Far off the mark
The dream did not become a reality, perhaps he meant the year 3,000. the rotten system of Capitalism is even more corrupt now than it was in the 19th century.
Published 15 months ago by Michael Houlihan
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential read
For those who are in to their Utopia/Dystopia literature. Its right up my street anyway. I highly recommend buying this book.
Published 16 months ago by Danielle Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
I enjoyed this boom. Never heard of Bellamy before this book and, the modern 're-written version based on it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Gobberz
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting philosophy if very unrealistic in reality
An interesting 19th century novel depicting a utopian America in the year 2000 where society has abolished all distinctions of rich and poor and there are no politicians, bankers,... Read more
Published on 10 Oct. 2010 by John Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking Backward from 2000 to 1887 by Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy is famous for his utopian novel set in the year 2000, Looking Backward from 2000 to 1887, published in 1888. Read more
Published on 23 Aug. 2006 by Rex Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars A warmly human and enlightening read
Having never really heard of this novel or its author before, I was rather surprised to discover how immensely popular it was at the end of the nineteenth century. Read more
Published on 3 Feb. 2003 by Daniel Jolley
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