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Babbitt (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – September 22, 2003
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''Sinclair Lewis is one of the major prophets of our time.'' -- William Allen White, Pulitzer Prize winner
''Babbitt is an authentic modern American classic, a biting satire of middle-American values that retains much of its poignancy today.'' --Library Journal
''Mr. Lewis is a genius. . . an idealist, an artist.'' --London Observer --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From the Back Cover
Prosperous and socially prominent, George Babbitt appears to have everything a man could wish: good health, a fine family, and a profitable business in a booming Midwestern city. But the middle-aged real estate agent is shaken from his self-satisfaction by a growing restlessness with the limitations of his life. When a personal crisis forces a reexamination of his values, Babbitt mounts a rebellion against social expectations—jeopardizing his reputation and business standing as well as his marriage.
Widely considered Sinclair Lewis' greatest novel, this satire of the American social landscape created a sensation upon its 1922 publication. Babbitt's name became an instant and enduring synonym for middle-class complacency, and the strictures of his existence revealed the emptiness of the mainstream vision of success. His story reflects the nature of a conformist society, in which the pressures of maintaining propriety can ultimately cause individuals to lose their place in the world.
Top Customer Reviews
This is my first encounter with Sinclair Lewis. I really don’t know why I chose to read “Babbitt” first, as I also have copies of “Main Street” and “Arrowsmith”. I think it was the unusual cover of the Penguin edition, which is a picture of a painting called “Booster” by Grant Wood. To me, that picture IS Babbitt, and I’ll always be able to see Babbitt in my head whenever I’m reminded of this book.There really isn’t a lot of symbolism here (and the symbolism that is here is pretty easy to decipher) and the prose is much closer to our present day writing and speech. This is brilliant satire, and you’ll laugh out loud at many of the situations Babbitt gets himself into. An especially hilarious incident occurs when one of the local millionaire businessmen finally accepts an invitation to dine with Babbitt. The evening goes badly because Babbitt is in a lower social class. Lewis then shows Babbitt going to a dinner at an old friends house who is in a lower class then him.Read more ›
Sound like anyone you know? But "Babbitt" was published--almost unbelievably--in 1922. Funny how little some things have changed. Lewis's satire on suburban life and its conformities was an instant hit. Even today, we know what a Babbitt is--a guy who's all show and no go--whose lifestyle and opinions have been furnished for him but maybe whose soul is a little out of whack. It's a pity that schools usually assign the much slower-paced "Main Street". Read "Main Street" to see what life used to be like. Read "Babbitt" to see how we got to where we are today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sinclair Lewis does an outstanding job tracking a man's mid-life crisis and its effect on him and his family--probably 40 year before the the phrase "mid-life crisis" was... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeffery D. Troutt
A classic worth reading. A window into a time brought to life. Reminded me of "Stepford Wives", but for men.Published 2 months ago by Lynne H.
It was a good read and the main character, showed growth by the end. Also, though 100 years old it is still a great satire on our American attitudes and values.Published 5 months ago by Scott Anderson
This book made me stop and reconsider the boring jobs I once had and the expectations of what I should or should not be doing with my life. A great read with good lessons.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A classic, and deservedly so. When I tire of reading poorly-written contemporary fiction (and that is most of it), I return to the classics of the early 20th century, particularly... Read morePublished 7 months ago by RhodeIsland 1969
This book is for those who see the humor in satire and can enjoy books that appear to have no plot. Sinclair Lewis is the best satirist I know of and Babbitt is one of the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ben J Korgen
This classic begins slowly and becomes more interesting as the story unfolds. A unique glimpse into the life of a confused businessman. Very thought provoking and a good read.Published 9 months ago by Mark