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The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Narrated by: Steven Green
Length: 25 hrs
Categories: Fiction, Literary

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Publisher's Summary

"The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" (1914) is a novel by Robert Tressell. Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognize the inequity and iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists and corrupt councilors provide a backdrop for his main target - the workers who think that a better life is "not for the likes of them". Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as "philanthropists" who throw themselves into backbreaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.

The hero of the book, Frank Owen, is a socialist who believes that the capitalist system is the real source of the poverty. He tries to convince his fellow workers of his worldview, but finds that their education has trained them to distrust their own thoughts. Much of the book consists of conversations, or more often of lectures by Owen in the face of their jeering; presumably based on Tressell’s own experiences.

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