This book describes a wretched life and doesn’t allow for moments of hope that someone like Dickens provides. Dickens managed to shake up his society while appealing to a broad audience. This is something Tressell fails to do, but this is perhaps an unfair comparison. Who can measure up to Dickens?I’m not sorry I read this book but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. Robert Croker/Robert Noonan used the pseudonym Robert Tressell for this book. He was concerned that his politics, so evident in this work, would interfere in his search for a job. Tressell could have been a character in this book; he worked very hard for very little money, had difficulty finding work, and died of TB at 40 years of age. This book was published after Tressell died.“The question is, what is the cause of the lifelong poverty of the majority of those who are not drunkards and who DO work? Why, if all the drunkards and won't-works and unskilled or inefficient workers could be by some miracle transformed into sober, industrious and skilled workers tomorrow, it would, under the present conditions, be so much the worse for us, because there isn't enough work for all NOW and those people by increasing the competition for what work there is, would inevitably cause a reduction of wages and a greater scarcity of employment.”Most of the men Owen the Socialist works with are not interested in his politics. Not that they have thoughtfully chosen another path; they fight about it like people today fight about politics: "I’m right so you must be wrong.""Nuh uh! I’M right and YOU’RE wrong!"
"Well you’re just stupid!" "I know you are but what am I?" In the form of a monologue on a rainy day, the author gives his philosophy of a socialist land where everyone is equal and all are happy. Honesty compels me to report that I did not read the entire monologue, but I did find it interesting that there are no alcoholics under socialism. I mean, alcoholics would be avoided by others. “… but if they became very degraded, we should still remember that they were our brother men and women, and we should regard them as suffering from a disease inherited from their uncivilized forefathers and try to cure them by placing them under some restraint: in an institute for instance.”So if you were an alcoholic, there was good news and bad news and really bad news. Good: Recognition that alcoholism is a disease.Not So Good: Alcoholics should be locked up to be cured.Terribly Not Good: “Another good way to deal with 'em,” said Harlow, “would be to allow them double pay, so as they could drink themselves to death. We could do without the likes of them.” (Spoiler alert: Harlow is not a socialist.)