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The Luddites

The History and Legacy of the English Rebels Who Protested Against Advanced Machinery During the Industrial Revolution
Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 1 hr and 34 mins
Categories: History, European
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Between the 18th and early 19th centuries, Britain experienced massive leaps in technological, scientific, and economical advancement. This powerful period has since been immortalized as the great Industrial Revolution, during which Britain became a formidable force that boasted unmatched economical growth, drastic changes in living conditions, and even the emergence of a neglected social class. Vast portions of rural lands were transformed into interconnected, complex, and multitasking cities. Dozens of innovative inventions and products were churned out in bulk and sold to the masses for the first time ever. Some of the greatest thinkers and creators ventured forth from the shadows. Scientists, engineers, merchants, and manufacturers alike were at the height of their prime, nurtured by a culture that embraced the vision of growth, progress, and industrial unity.

The Industrial Revolution saw Britain rise to the top and become the envy of the world's most prestigious nations. At the same time, the pivotal era was far from perfect, featuring a dark underbelly and an army of unsung heroes. 

It was American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler who once called technology “the great growing engine of change”. The 18th-century German linguist Johann Gottfried von Herder was another proponent of enlightenment and technological progress. “Nothing in Nature stands still,” said von Herder. “Everything strives and moves forward.” One would be hard-pressed to find anyone today that would disagree with these sentiments. Those whose opinions suggest otherwise are often thoughtlessly dismissed, and those who hold them, ridiculed as tin-foil-hat sporting paranoids or pretentious “hipsters”. 

But what happens when the very instruments meant to help people begin to put lives at stake? Meet the Luddites, a 19th-century brotherhood of rebels who vowed to annihilate every last one of the newfangled spinning machines that cost thousands their jobs. The Luddites' riots are indefensible, at least from the standpoint of violence, but they beg the question of whether the protests were nonsensical acts of rage carried out by thugs who sought to exploit imagined fears or desperate measures taken by those who felt neglected by the government.

The Luddites: The History and Legacy of the English Rebels Who Protested Against Advanced Machinery During the Industrial Revolution chronicles the revolution and the negative reaction to it. You will learn about the Luddites like never before. 

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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  • JJ
  • LAUREL, MD, United States
  • 01-31-19

Good brief look at the Luddites

Like me, you've probably heard the term "Luddites" being associated to people (aka. relatives) who are anti-technology. In my case, it's people who are afraid of the internet and Alexa "listening" to you at home. Maybe it's real, maybe not. But I personally wanted to understand where the term came from so I'm not just spouting buzz phrases without any knowledge.

This short overview of the Luddites is basically a research paper set to narration which does just that... it gives you a look into the history of the term and how the Luddites because known as a force in early industrial-age England.

What was interesting is how modern zeitgeist tends to white-wash real people's struggles into quippy buzz words. The Luddites were a real group of people fighting for real problems and, after listening, I have a better understanding of who they were and will be wiser in how I use the term from here on out.

I only rated it average because it was just that, average. But that's not to say it isn't worthwhile, but it's just not a gripping story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It was certainly worth the price.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful