This is without doubt one of the major works of speculative fiction of the 20th century, and the fact that it is still so little known and so hard to get hold of is ample fuel for conspiracy theorists the world over - thank God, finally, there is a new edition! It presents itself as a history book written in the 22nd century, covering the previous 400 years; the rise and fall of capitalism and the establishment of a utopian world government. Whilst Wells' own communistic ideology shines through, it is nevertheless a reasoned, accessible attempt to discuss the geopolitical forces which shape our world and to debate the future of our species and our society. Wells is profoundly against the laissez-faire approach to social and political development, and argues for an intelligent, directed interventionism towards a more just and egalitarian future. It's possible to read this book as a counterargument to such dystopian classics as Zamyatin's "We", Huxley's "Brave New World", or Orwell's "1984", but at the same time it's hard to dismiss the suspicion that Wells' political and ideological enemies have happily buried this controversial and deeply thoughtful work whilst championing its "dark vision" contemporaries.
"The Shape of Things to Come" is profoundly anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-corporate feudalist. It effortlessly exposes and deconstructs the cynical manipulations which drive world politics; in the age of the oil wars and the artificial enemy, it's more relevant than ever.
I would put this book on any O-level or A-level curriculum. I'd challenge any thinking person with hope for the future of our society to read this book and disagree. You might not agree with Wells, but you can't deny that this is a topic we should all be talking about.