Buy Used
£2.80
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Faber Book of Utopias Paperback – 4 Oct 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 4 Oct 1999
£12.99 £0.01
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 531 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (4 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571197906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571197903
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,932,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The instinct to seek perfection in human affairs is as old as Western Civilisation; sometimes it is claimed that the perfect society is lost in the past, or is very distant in the future or across the hills, and sometimes utopia is seen as achievable in our own time, by the adoption of a particular political programme. The great strength of John Carey's anthology of utopian writing, though at times also a significant weakness, is that he is highly suspicious of the entire enterprise; it is not insignificant, he implies by careful selection, that one of the first pieces of Utopian writing is Plato's The Republic that, however benevolent its goals, is maintained by a mixture of force and lies and depends on squashing the aspirations of ordinary people. In his useful introduction, he points to some key themes: the production of perfect offspring and keeping them that way by education, the punishment of criminals, and the management of ageing and death. Carey suggests that there are insoluble problems in human life and that utopians tend to falsify them by regarding them as simple. This is a useful anthology, but a dispiriting one--Carey's determination to let no-one off the hook is harsh, but fair. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The Faber Book of Utopias, edited by John Carey, is a spellbinding anthology which charts the course of every conceivable dream world, whether originating from Ancient Egypt or modern California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The FBoU is a very good book so long as you use it as intended. The aim is to give you a taste of the most important utopian literature from the past. Starting from almost 2000bc Carey guides one through Plato, Tacitus all the way through to Orwell and Huxley and beyond while stopping off along the way to consider an eclectic bunch including the Marquis de Sade, Zamyatin and Hitler. Indeed, it is the breadth of this journey which for some will undo the enjoyment of Carey's work.
Buying the book as a means to becoming well read in utopian literature in a short space of time will not work. The book provides excerpts from utopian works, the length of which I often felt were too short to be satisifactory. As a stand alone book, the FBoU does simply does not work. Such criticism is perhaps unfair, as this is not how Carey probably intended the book to be used. Indeed as a first port of call the book is very good. Having read the short extracts one is often left wanting more. This in many ways is a credit to Carey as he provides an introduction to utopian literature that otherwise would be left forgotten.
As a stimulus to further reading I have found few books as good as this, just don't expect to finish reading this book knowing all you would like to about the fascinating genre that is utopian writing.
Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
In this book John Carey gives us a varied selection of fantasy worlds, from the more traditional 'perfect' utopias to the dystopias of Orwell and Huxley. The selection varies from 1000BC right up to the modern day and gives a fascinating insight into the dreams of societies, showing how little humankind has changed. It is interesting to note how similar the utopian's ideas are, and how some of them now occur. Carey's editing is sublime, with the plot of each novel clearly and easily explained in a few paragraphs. The excerpts are similarily well chosen.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the title, this is a surprisingly grim work. The problem with utopias, as Carey points out, is they aim for perfection. That sounds noble, even benevolent - at first. But human beings are far from perfect, and so are the societies they build around them. A utopia cannot tolerate imperfections: they delay our progress to a better world, and bear down on the people who will achieve it. By necessity, that means wiping out an awful lot of people today for the benefit of people tomorrow.

Carey picks excerpts from a variety of works, many picking up on this paradox knowingly, some otherwise. The range is impressive: Homer, Tacitus, Sir Thomas More (of course), Andrew Marvell, B.F. Skinner, Hitler, Julian Barnes and many others.

Taken together, they're a bracing mixture of idealism and inhumanity. The theme of making people disappear is present even in Plato's The Republic, and is carried on by a disturbing number of others. There are methods other than killing, of course. Huxley and Skinner both describe worlds where criminality has been bred out by a programme of conditioning.

Carey's commentaries on each entry are lively, often with some licensed naughtiness. The World State from Brave New World wins praise as well as blame: they have eliminated crime, and managed the eternal problems of happiness, death, over population. The latter is crucial: the world's population is kept stable at around 2 billion. Our global population is due to reach 8.6 billion by 2025 - a number of people the Earth has never had to support before. How long this can carry on - and the changes to privacy and freedom - is a recurring question. (Wells' When the Sleeper Wakes is an especially dire vision of an overcrowded planet.
Read more ›
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to read something without getting too involved then this is for you. Read it as a reference book or from cover to cover, either way you'll learn a great deal about this philosophical topic.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This compendium of various takes on utopias is excellent. The only two problems
I had with it were that the excerpts were too short in many instances and also that
they left out some of the later works, like EUTOPIA (1999) published by Thames & Hudson.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse


Feedback