Synopses & Reviews
One of the wonders of the age has been the remarkable success of Edward Bellamy's novel Looking Backward. The reason for this is not hard to guess. The majority of the thinking portion of the community found in this book an echo of their own thought. In a simple and attractive way it set before the public mind the horrible iniquity of the present organization, of society. The comparison of our social system to a coach whereon a few persons sit in indolence, while the vast majority, driven by hunger, toil at the ropes and drag the coach along, has appealed to every honest mind by its truthfulness. A slavery, worse than that which made a nation rise to free the blacks, has risen with a fungus growth and made the rich man and the poor man enemies. Corrupt judges on the bench and partisan grand juries in the precincts of the courts have made one law for the rich and another for the poor. Poverty has become a synonym for dishonor. The possession of money is alone the one source of respect upon earth and assurance of reward in heaven. The enormous growth of private fortunes and the organization of capital by great corporations have been so sudden, and have so altered our social system from vrhat it was thirty years ago, that men are bewildered at the change. The elder men cannot realize it. It is the younger men alone who see that the chains and shackles which a bloody war struck from the African, are being rivetted anew upon the laboring man. They alone see that the existence of great private fortunes is a menace to the welfare of the State, and that (with a few honorable exceptions) their possessors are public enemies.