The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists Hardcover – 1 Jan 1987
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"The audiobook works brilliantly." (The Observer)
"A torch to pass from generation to generation." (Tony Benn) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Groundbreaking socialist novel and cult classic first published in 1914
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Top Customer Reviews
At times I felt the author's rants about the evils of capitalism and the working class being their own worst enemy tiresome (if true), but then I realised his frustration with the mindset of those he spent his working life with would have made him feel the need to rave. What could be worse than spending your every working day in the company of miserable forelock-tuggers, men who at once idolised and hated their masters, and hated themselves even more. We see much of this frustration in the character Owen and his contempt for his fellow workers for regarding their state of starvation and wretched poverty as a privilege and are fiercely committed to preserving the system that keeps them downtrodden. Kudos to the reader who wrote: 'Not only is capitalism unsustainable but immoral.' One need only look at how far downhill the world had gone (as capitalism has gained a surer foothold) in the hundred years since this book was written to know that. More than ever people find no shame in stepping on (or even stomping on) each other to gain an economic advantage.
When a used-to-be Socialist tells Barrington 'enlightenment will never be brought about by arguing with people,' I couldn't have agreed more. While Barrington took this on board as dishearteningly true, delightfully, it didn't take the fight out of him. If one is passionate about changing injustice, even against the odds, one can't help but go on fighting the fight to inform and educate others.Read more ›
There is so much here. It's political message is, in a sense, blunted in the twenty first century. The solutions it offers were it least in part manifested in the post war settlement of the Attlee government that has been under attack since the 1980's. But the overarching questions that it asks -What are the causes of poverty, why do those oppressed willingly accept the values of the oppressors, why do they not rise up in revolt and take issue with the system that disadvantages them, remain vibrant.
On another level this is an historic record of the early twentieth century written from the ground up with cast iron authenticity. The author captures enough detail of his surroundings and of the characters to make it believable, touchable and easily recognisable. Tressell himself was a workman, his richly detailed account of working class life in Edwardian England is drawn from first hand experience. His understanding of human nature and its distortions caused by poverty were not imagined but drawn from his everyday experience.. It seems nothing short of miraculous that under these conditions he was able to write such an insightful account of what he experienced.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent education for those wishing to understand the origin of the socialist movement.Published 3 days ago by Tony M
I've often wondered how a change towards socialism could be brought about without revolution and violence, and this has an account of how this might be done - very... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
A masterpiece of socialist literature. So many of the quotes I could apply to the recent referendum vote. Read it!Published 11 days ago by Kindle Customer
Such a brilliant description of working class life in the late 1800 's up till the first world war. So true to life in so many ways now, as it was for them. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Annie de Vree
Useful background on the reality of the lives working class people at the start of the 20th century. I had not previously considered some of these socialist arguments. Read morePublished 14 days ago by JB
This is a must read book for any working class person, it is compelling and a riveting readPublished 14 days ago by Jamie
I've just finished reading the Ragged trousered philanthropists. It was written 100 years ago and describes the working conditions that most working people were subjected to and... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Daniel Palmer