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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and thought provoking
Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread is probably the best and easiest to read book yet written on how a libertarian and communist society could function. My recommendation would be to forget Marx and Engels, if you'd ever considered reading them, and read this book instead.
Even though I don't agree with all that Kropotkin said, his is a very interesting and thought...
Published on 20 Oct 2003 by Mr. W. D. Runacre

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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Communist philosophic nirvana without the verbosity of Marx
Karl Marx. Highpoint of communist philosophy? Wrong. Kropotkin takes communism to its logical conclusion far more concisely and with a lucidity that Marx could only allude to. Kropotkin guides us through the implausibility of private property and the state, highlighting the inherent inadequacies and misery they inevitably cause. Having used Mutual Aid and the unfinished...
Published on 11 Nov 2001


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and thought provoking, 20 Oct 2003
This review is from: Conquest of Bread (Hardcover)
Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread is probably the best and easiest to read book yet written on how a libertarian and communist society could function. My recommendation would be to forget Marx and Engels, if you'd ever considered reading them, and read this book instead.
Even though I don't agree with all that Kropotkin said, his is a very interesting and thought provoking work. It wasn't written for academics and intellectuals, but for the common working men and women of the late 19th century. As such, it is one of the easiest political books to read, and if you don't learn something from it, or feel enriched by the experience, then I'd be very surprised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People do it for themselves, 17 July 2011
This review is from: The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics) (Paperback)
An anti-democracy, anti-capitalism and anti-marxist manifesto, advocating a view of socio-economic management based on free association amongst people in pursuit of the satisfaction of the material needs of society. Kropotkin believes people can do it by themselves, if they freely associate, in a way that is both enriching and reduces the working day.
A refreshing and interesting read, which shows a preference for and a faith in the ability of human beings for effective and efficient self-organisation in pursuit of human welfare. I would hazard to say that this book is similar in spirit to Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful".Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People MatteredGod and the State
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read on anarchism, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics) (Paperback)
Changed my thinking and now think everyone should read this book. Gives a new positive perspective on communities and all the more relevant now with more freedoms for people to act together - although the current political climate is coming from a different place entirely and not to be confused with anarchism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest books I have read, 17 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics) (Paperback)
Many books written by Revolutionary Left philosophers tends to have the tone and message of "I rebel because I can" or "All are equal but some are more equal that others" which I sadly fine with Bakunin and Goldman.
Conquest of Bread is different. I provides not only a reason why people should take control of their life's and works but why it is better to work together, how it should be done, the benefits it provides all and is wrote with a level-headed and hopeful tone.
Food, housing, education, luxury,production, all of it is discussed in the clearest manner and argues the pragmatic as well as the moral need for collective society. It also looks at the failures of previous revolts and what can be learnt from them as well as warning us plebs from blindly flowing a middle-class revolutionary (Robespierre, Paris Commune leaders etc) when any revolution must be the peoples, lead by the people for the people, not some vanguard which sadly came to dominant most socialist revolts from the 1910's onwards.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Communist philosophic nirvana without the verbosity of Marx, 11 Nov 2001
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Karl Marx. Highpoint of communist philosophy? Wrong. Kropotkin takes communism to its logical conclusion far more concisely and with a lucidity that Marx could only allude to. Kropotkin guides us through the implausibility of private property and the state, highlighting the inherent inadequacies and misery they inevitably cause. Having used Mutual Aid and the unfinished Ethics to show the irrefutability of mans social nature, the Conquest of Bread enables Kropotkin to show us what, once having read it, seems so glaringly obvious- that political society works against man and not for him.
Its a radical conclusion reached through a series of logical statements and progressions, containing so much truth that it is almost impossible to argue against him, untill you are left with no other option but to agree with him.
Where he differs the most in his philosophy from Marx is with the organisation of society once the existing one has collapsed. Marx offered the communist party, the party of the workers which would take the place of capitalists and the bourgeois, who would take control of society, safeguarding the principles of Communism before somehow melting away. Or not. Kropotkin however, sees all authority as corrupting and so suggests that with the corrupting influence completely irradicated, man would be able to flourish. In other words Anarchist Communism. Leave man to work together and all will be well. Whether this is a naieve and even romantic view of human nature is up to the individual to decide. The conquest of Bread is however, a beautiful work of political philosophy and is one that deserves to be read by those that share his beliefs and those that dismiss his conclusions alike.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak and Unrealistic, 28 July 2010
This review is from: The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics) (Paperback)
I wanted to review this work as a historical text and not in its own content, but apparently, my own opinions have overtaken me on this one.

Kropotkin was a non-violent anarchist who promoted and expanded the idea of anarcho-communism based on voluntary co-operation, which is the subject of this peculiar book.
However, Kropotkin's argument is weak and vague in my ears. His idea is Utopian, as he admits himself, and one understands the man's lack of economic knowledge when he gives such faint arguments like "no man is lazy", "technology will take over occupations that are unpopular" and so on. (the text in "" is not Kropotkin's, but the ideas presented are). Kropotkin keeps on mentioning how we could cover our necessities under his proposed system, and also enjoy some luxuries such as exotic fruits, but this condition has been achieved by capitalism in most European countries. After all, Europeans do have clothes, shoes, food, water and shelter (with of course, exceptions) which consist of our economic necessities. Of course capitalism is far from Utopian, but the rise in the standard of living under it has actually surpassed Kropotkin's ambitions of his own economic system.
Another interesting statement found in the book is that if authoritarian communists take over (or as we came to know them, the Bolsheviks), they would be overthrown in a very short period of time as people have an enormous desire to be free. Well the Soviet Union lasted for 74 years, and the Chinese dictatorship is still here, not to mention the situation in Cuba. I believe it is evident that Kropotkin had interpreted human nature quite unrealistically.
Kropotkin keeps on mentioning the upcoming revolution, as a fact that will happen inevitably. He was apparently another thinker convinced that there will be a revolution, and that this revolution would follow a specific path.
His intentions are pure and I am sympathetic with his ideas, but apparently, the world does not work in the way Kropotkin had interpreted it, and his assumptions of the future have almost completely been proven false.

The AK edition of The Conquest of Bread is a great edition of Kropotkin's work, and I would advice anyone who is interested in it to check this edition out.
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The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics)
The Conquest of Bread (Working Classics) by Peter Kropotkin (Paperback - 31 May 2008)
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