The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up one hundred and thirteen years later. He finds himself in the same location (Boston, Massachusetts), but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the United States has been transformed into a socialist utopia. The remainder of the book outlines Bellamy's thoughts about improving the future. The major themes include problems associated with capitalism, a proposed socialist solution of a nationalisation of all industry, the use of an "industrial army" to organize production and distribution, as well as how to ensure free cultural production under such conditions.
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Edward Bellamy's vision of an ideal future
Edward Bellamy and his brother Francis were good Baptists and devoted Socialists. This was not contradictory at the time. In Looking Backward Edward Bellamy envisions a glorious future of peace, prosperity and harmony among all citizens. This benevolent state affairs comes to be because the natural evolution of the economy finally achieves -- Communism! Not Marxist communism, though. Bellamy's vision of the year 2000 is not godless. Indeed it appears everyone in his ideal world are good Protestants. But in every other aspect of life Bellamy's yr 2000 resembles Chairman Mao's China! Bellamy's ideas are intriguing even if they are laughable, and his prose a bit purple in spots. This book is a good read if you are interested in American intellectual history. Brother Francis Bellamy created something that more memorable than this book. He wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.