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A Modern Utopia Paperback – January 9, 2017
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About the Author
Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent in 1866, the son of a tradesman and professional cricketer. In early life he worked as an apprentice to a draper and in 1884 he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in South Kensington under the tutorage of T H Huxley. His time there was to have a lasting influence on his life and subsequent writing. H G Wells first found literary acclaim with The Time Machine which appeared in 1895 and was the first novel to introduce the concept of time travel. This was followed by The Wonderful Visit, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds. These books alone were enough to establish an entirely new genre - that of science fiction.Although it is for these works of science fiction that he is best remembered, H G Wells was in fact a prolific and extremely versatile writer. He was the author of a number of tracts, social and political satires, and stern warnings about the future of civilisation. A remarkably accurate prophet, he foresaw both World Wars and the atomic bomb, and the realization of these visions accounted for much of the pessimism in his later works. In 1934 he published his autobiography, An Experiment In Autobiography, which serves as an invaluable reflection of the people and cultures of his times. H G Wells died in 1946. His obituary in The New York Times hailed him as 'one of the outstanding contemporary literary figures'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Well's was also a very outspoken socialist. His book, A Modern Utopia, is his proposal for a world state. He states,"a flexible common compromise, in which a perpetually novel succession of individualities may converge most effectually upon a comprehensive onward development."
I found the book rather interesting, although it contradicts what I believe. I think it is important to respect others and learn from their point of view. H.G. Wells is an amazing author. I would recommend this book to anyone. If for no other reason than because it is a piece of historical literature.
As promised in the title, it's modern in ways that many more recent Utopias aren't. Wells considers the unavoidable inequality of child-bearing duties, and turns full-time motherhood into a paying profession. He acknowledges acquisitiveness and cupidity - rather than wide-open warehouses, his Utopia uses money to add wisdom (or at least thought) to the choices made in what to take home. He discusses race and racial superiority in terms that his 1905 audience would have found familiar. In the end, he argues for economic and legal equality not on the grounds of actual equality, a point that he leaves undecided, but on the grounds that no group in history has ever shown that it deserved to hold the upper hand.
There's more, much more, including a wealth of references to other Utopian literature - that by itself might almost have justified the cost of this book. Wells's interleaving of multiple levels of fiction also makes for an unusual reading experience. But it's the ideal world itself that stands out, mostly by not standing out. Real people didn't set out to create a bad world, so most of what we've worked out has a lot going for it. Above all, what we've got has room in it for many kinds of people, not all of whom will or can devote themselves to some moral ideal. "A Modern Utopia" is complex and layered in its presentation, but equally complex in what might look like banality of solutions to pressing social problems. Social improvement mattered too much to Wells for him to let it seem glib or impossible.
The end results sounds more like a system set up in the Middle Ages, with most of the labor moving to where the jobs are, a small middle class of above normal workers and a class of supermen, and some women, at the top. I am sorry Wells, but this is not a Utopia. Even after talking about individualism and the equality of women in the end this more like a nightmare, and a boring one at that.
You should read it, because many modern books on utopias and dystopias will use it as part of the background on the subject. But I don't think anybody should really talk about it as a serious system of World Government.