Looking Backward 2000-1887

by Edward Bellamy

Published 1888 in the United States of America

This is an 1889 printing of Edward Bellamy's best selling book, Looking Backward 2000-1887. Looking Backward sold over 100,000 copies in American in its first year of publication and went on to sell over a million copies world wide, translated into over 20 languages. It was the 3rd best selling fiction book of the 19th century, and had a significant impact in popular society at the time.

Looking Backward is effectively a story that presents an anti-Marxist/pro-socialist commentary on American society of the time, and tells of a utopian Christian-Socialist society which is to have developed in America by the year 2000.

What is most interesting about this book is how well it was received in its day, and how very far off it was from predicting the social future of our country. In many ways though Looking Backward provides a remarkable insight into late 19th century American society, and it is even more remarkable to read this book, now at the turn of the 21st century, and reflect on this man's vision of what he thought our present could be like, essentially what he wanted it to be like, especially knowing that many in his day shared his vision.

Bellamy was not off in his analysis of developing American society though, he merely presented what he felt "could be a solution", but at the same time, he also presented alternative visions of what the future would hold was well, for example:

The records of the period show that the outcry against the concentration of capital was furious. Men believed that it threatened society with a form of tyranny more abhorrent than it had ever endured. They believed that the great corporations were preparing for them the yoke of a baser servitude than had ever been imposed on the race, servitude not to men but to soulless machines incapable of any motive but insatiable greed. Looking back, we cannot wonder at their desperation, for certainly humanity was never confronted with a fate more sordid and hideous than would have been the era of corporate tyranny which they anticipated.

Looking Backward 2000 - 1887

 

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