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Extended Audio Sample Looking Backward Audiobook, by Edward Bellamy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,853 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward Bellamy Narrator: Edward Lewis Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455177790
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The time is tomorrow. The place: a utopian America. The hero: anyone who has ever longed for escape to a better life. 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—and 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, Bellamy’s visionary view of the future offers a blueprint of the “perfect society,” a guidebook that stimulated some of the most prominent thinkers of our age. John Dewey, Charles Beard, and Edward Weeks, in separate surveys conducted in 1935, all listed Edward Bellamy’s novel as the most influential work written by an American in the preceding fifty years.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There is no better book than Looking Backward for understanding the intersecting private and public spheres in Victorian America.”

    Richard Fox, Professor of History at the University of Southern California

  • “One of the great utopian novels...remains at its heart a profoundly radical work of social prophecy.”

    Alex MacDonald, Associate Professor of English at Campion College, University of Regina

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 2/12/2014

    " Another book I read again and again. An important utopia in terms of influence and history, though the writing hasn't held up well over time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dimitri | 2/9/2014

    " This book is interesting, but it largely consists of lectures given by one interlocutor to another explaining how society in the 20th century will work. So it's interesting as a utopian text, but not nearly so much as literature. I found myself skipping large chunks of text towards the end... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liesel | 1/31/2014

    " Apparently this book was all the rage before the 1920s. Don't even bother picking it up. 1984 was much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim O'Loughlin | 1/30/2014

    " I did a chapter of my dissertation on this book, so don't get me started... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura Ervin | 1/30/2014

    " I read this book for school years ago. The book was written I believe in 1888. And the Author's vision for the future was to me amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Sammis | 1/30/2014

    " A Utopian account of what the future could have held, written in 1888. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melissa | 1/27/2014

    " I read this as a college freshman. I just remember thinking it was a horrible book. Maybe I'll re-read it, give it another chance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 1/21/2014

    " Bellamy's predictions made prior to 1900 about what the year 2000 would look like are entertaining and enlightening. The premise of the novel, rich guy in 1887 uses a "mesmorizer" to help him sleep. His bedroom is in a vault like basement of the house he is having built so he and his fiance can start their new life together. House burns down, he is in a trance in the basement,safe but lost to the world. He stays in this trance unaging for 113 years when he is discovered by the new owners. The book details his discovery of the socialistic paradise of the year 2000. Some things were accurately predicted, others, not so much. The novel raises several good points, even a hundred years later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Beeler | 1/19/2014

    " A fun primary source, if only because Bellamy predicts mp3 players and malls, all in the wake of a socialist propaganda narrative! DING! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 1/2/2014

    " The book was interesting, but it really isn't that great. Peter and I got to know each other because of this book, because we had to a presentation over it. So to me, this book will always be special. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/31/2013

    " Yes, it's overly optimistic and fluffy, but I liked it anyway. Like others, I was impressed by Bellamy's ability to predict credit cards and shopping malls. Thought the romantic angle was meh..... and I was amused by the Victorian male's vision of futuristic feminism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 12/5/2013

    " 12th grade and up. I'm not sure if I would use this whole book because the language could be difficult and the concept of a utopia such as this may be completely foreign to students. I may consider taking segments of this books and implementing it as short text. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danny | 2/24/2012

    " It's an ok read...nothing new much except that it was written over a hundred years ago but seems as if the same rules apply now as they did then. Economic and political views that I agree with but those on the right would not most likely! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron Christiansen | 3/6/2010

    " Early SF, pretty odd but surely groundbreaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jp | 7/4/2007

    " A look into what a Utopian Socialist society might look like Bellamy's perspective. Excellent read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben | 1/19/2007

    " This, again, was a book that I expected more from. The concept of time travel was very interesting, but the ideas of the future were bland in comparison to other writers who have theorized on future societies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh Stewart | 1/11/2007

    " Written as a fictional novel, it has grown to be regarded as an insightful critisizm of the "Guilded Age" society. Taken as a novel, it is an enjoyable story that paints a picture of a utopian society. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/6/2005

    " It's amazing that he wrote about so many futuristic things that actually happened, although I got a little tired of his many diatribes on socialistic philosophy. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joseph Saborio | 3/1/2005

    " Well, not read 100%, I skimmed the last 100 pages or so, but just couldn't take it anymore... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arithmomaniac | 11/12/2004

    " It's fun to read a book that has such an alluring picture of utopia, yet is so dated at the same time. "

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About the Author
Author Edward Bellamy

Edward Bellamy (1850–1898) was a US author and journalist who abandoned his law practice to become associate editor of the Springfield (Massachusetts) Union. Later he worked as an editorial writer for the New York Evening Post and founded the New Nation, a Boston newspaper, as an organ for his views about the injustices in the economic and social systems. But his heart was primarily in the field of literature, and he wrote several short stories and novels.

About the Narrator

Edward Lewis (a.k.a. David Hilder) is a stage, film, and television actor. He has narrated unabridged audiobooks for over eighteen years and has recorded more than two hundred titles, spanning works of fiction and nonfiction.