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Looking Backward

Narrated by: Edward Lewis
Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
3.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The hero is anyone who has ever longed for escape to a better life. The time is tomorrow. The place is a Utopian America. This is the backdrop for Edward Bellamy's prophetic novel about a young Boston gentleman who is mysteriously transported from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, from a world of war and want to a world of peace and plenty. Translated into more than twenty languages, and the most widely read novel of its time, Looking Backward is more than a brilliant visionary's view of the future. It is a blueprint of the "perfect society," a guidebook that stimulated some of the prominent thinkers of our age. John Dewey, Charles Beard, and Edward Weeks, in separate surveys conducted in 1935, listed Edward Bellamy's novel as the most influential work written by an American in the preceding fifty years.
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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Steven
  • OPELIKA, AL, United States
  • 10-27-11

A good presentation of a great classic

Looking Backwards is a classic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries which contains some of the early ideas of what would become the socialist movement. It is a Utopian novel in which a man form the 18th century is transported to the 21st. I think it is a fascinating picture into the 18th century mindset of what a perfect culture society could be.
To me this is not a book about what 'should' be, but instead it is about what 'could have been.'
The narration is crisp, if a bit fast passed, though to me this fits.
Overall I liked this version of the book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting glimpse into a possible version of our world today as dreamed up by a 18th century author.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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What would a world without money be like?

What made the experience of listening to Looking Backward the most enjoyable?

We've all heard that (the love of) money is the root of all evil, but we can't imagine a world without it. This is exactly what the author does. He describes a world of the future where people act to benefit everyone, rather than having everyone do whatever it takes to get ahead. This is a story I'll listen to many times, because it describes the kind of future that I would like to be part of.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Philip
  • Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 06-12-15

A socialist Sci-Fi from year 1886

It's pretty interesting what people at That is time thought of the future, in which we live now. The reader gets to admire their forecasts, as well as gloat at their naivete. Plus there is some time travel involved.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A most excellent historical fiction read!

This was NOT what I expected but was still enjoyable. Bellamy creates a utopian society that has similar features to today's world, while criticizing the Gilded Age for all its vainglorious behaviour.

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Well thought out, a little too long

The middle third of the book is well thought out, predicting the future, but a little long winded. I skipped quite a bit and didn’t miss anything pertinent.

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"....Why yes it is easy"

While it is a fun read, it is also repetitive and long. I struggled to get through this book because the auther rambles on and on about the same things repetitively. I feel like your in his head while he is daydreaming , instead of a novel in a traditional first person narration.
Also, this book is kind of like a acting impromptu version of "....Yes, and..." "....of course, it is so simple.... " "...why yes it is easy...." exercises taught in high school theatre. Which was the main reason I struggled to get through this short novel.
I picked up this book because of it's historical value, and how realistically correct it was of today's society. Over all I enjoyed the idea, outline, and some deails of the book; however I feel the book is less then the sum of its parts. It is a great sample read. But not for power readers like myself.

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Now I see How This Book Sparked a Revolution

Brilliant
Amazing
Smart
Thought Provoking
A necessary for survival in today's social and economic terrain.

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Astonishing. Impeccable. Necessary.

This is truly an astonishing book, especially considering the time period in which it was written. I must admit, o'clock if not astounding. However, in terms of significance the book is that the up most caliber. The sentiments and implications of this book are among the highest degree.It has become one of my favorite books, and encourage everyone to read it at least once. It is more than just a book, it is a guideline for the future of our humanity.

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  • Lory
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 01-12-17

So much is different. so much is the same.

Very cute in some ways, disturbing in others. After reading this, try Supply Shock, by Brian Czech, to get up to date.

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    2 out of 5 stars

This Book is socialist Propaganda

No one should be allowed to read this book without first or directly after reading or listening to Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged will give you a opposing view to the "perfect world" portrayed in "Looking Backward" The victorian language in this book is also difficult to follow and requires concentration to stay with the story.

12 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-28-19

genius.

This book is a work of genius. Often funny. Often saddening, contrasted with today's society.