Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Out of Print--Limited Availability.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

4.3 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

See all 50 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"

Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
Customers also viewed these available items
Out of Print--Limited Availability.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

'The first great English novel about the class war, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is spiked, witty, humorous, instructive and full of excitement, harmony and pathos.' Alan Sillitoe 'Some books seem to batter their way to immortality against all the odds, by sheer brute artistic strength, and high up in this curious and honourable company must be counted The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Robert Tressell's unfailing humour mixes with an unfailing rage and the two together make a truly Swiftian impact.' Evening Standard Robert Tressell has complete familiarity with the idiom of his characters. His language is bizarre, vital, highly inventive and precisely heard - it is a complete and living archaeology of the speech of a particular human group. A brilliant and very funny book.' Spectator --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

'The first great English novel about the class war, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is spiked, witty, humorous, instructive and full of excitement, harmony and pathos.' - ALAN SILLITOE

'Some books seem to batter their way to immortality against all the odds, by sheer brute artistic strength, and high up in this curious and honourable company must be counted The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Robert Tressell's unfailing humour mixes with an unfailing rage and the two together make a truly Swiftian impact.' - MICHAEL FOOT, Evening Standard

'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a wonderful book. Its wonder comes from the raciness of its story and the passionate ethics that emerge.' - City Limits

'Robert Tressell has complete familiarity with the idiom of his characters. His language is bizarre, vital, highly inventive and precisely heard - it is a complete and living archaeology of the speech of a particular human group. A brilliant and very funny book.' - Spectator

'A torch to pass from generation to generation.' TONY BENN --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 564 pages
  • Publisher: ReadHowYouWant (December 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427016690
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427016690
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I read this book, it stoked an emotional fire which fuelled a belief in the politics of social justice. Tressell is not as misty-eyed or naive as most socialist writers. He doesn't rely upon an unrealistic belief in human nature. Instead, he tackles ignorance, short-sightedness and cynicism head-on.
No Happy Endings here - it could never be a Hollywood film. The bitterness and pain you feel at the end leaves you wanting to change the world. To fight those forces ranged against the underdog. Even though you'll probably lose.
Seen in that light it feels as relevant today as it was when it was written.
I was given the book by a much older friend. I've now bought copies for half-a-dozen people. It's one of those books you just should read to be an all-rounded person.
Comment 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
A brilliant, sad and moving account of life in Edwardian England for the working class "Philanthropists" struggling through poverty in order to make their employers rich. Though starving and wretched the majority of these working men react furiously to suggestions that their poverty is caused by their "masters" robbing them of the fruits of their labours. They are referred to as philanthropists due to their generosity of spirit and material wealth , gladly handing over all the benefits of the luxuries and necessaries of life which they help to create, to their greedy paymasters and employers. The solution to their problems is provided by the author as a Socialist, Cooperative Commonwealth of Nations under God, where the marvels of modern science and technology should be harnessed, owned by the people, and producing an abundance of the comforts of civilisation, not for one company's profit but for everyone's needs. An old lesson whose truths are as relevant today as they were when this masterpiece was written. A Socialist's bible if ever their was one.
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine sent me this book, which I had never heard of at the time. If you get past the awkward title, and the somewhat purple Victorian prose, it really is a wonderful book. First and foremost, it reads really well. It's well-written, the story is compelling, and the characters likeable. The overall flavor I would describe as Dickensian, although nowhere near as baroque or whimsical. So it's not some boring polemic. And, second, it's socialist in its outlook. It explains socialism and the old Labour movement not in some theoretical, jargonistic way, but by means of practical examples that the central character uses to explain the movement to his co-workers. At the same time they're learning, you're learning, too - and it's very well done. Of course, the plot of the story drives home the lessons you've learned as well. And the arguments for more social equity work - I guess they can be argued against, if you're so inclined, but they're not at all simplistic or overly idealistic - they're really rather practical. Overall, a wonderful book for just about anyone thinking about the construction of society - even capitalists who'd like to cut their teeth against challenging political arguments.
Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This is fantastic book on so many levels. It paints a vivid and real picture of 19th century life, of the hardships people faced, and the way they used humor and whatever means they had at their disposal to get through it. It was written in the 19th century, of the 19th century so reading as close to jumping in your DeLorean and firing up the flux capacitor as it gets. The life the protagonists lead is one of severe hardship and strife, of social inequality and of a lack of any of the modern safety nets which keep people in food and shelter when they have no work or means to support themselves. It's hard to read in places, the stark reality Tressell shows us is not a nice one.

While he takes us on a tour of the 19th century working class, Tressell makes a heartfelt plea for people to embrace socialism and to strive to make it our system of government. His simple examples of how it could work, and his examples of how capitalism is flawed are excellent and thought-provoking. I don't know whether Tressell's socialism could work in modern britain, but I think it offered a better life for the working classes of the 19th Century.

Terry Pratchett, often extols the power of narrative for getting a point across and Tressell's 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' is a prime example of how powerful it can be. It's partly the inspiration for expressing my own world view in my 'Deathsworn Arc' fantasy series.

All in all, anyone interested in political history should read this book. It's enjoyable and informative to the last.

Martyn Stanley

Author of:-
...Read more ›
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could never understand how anyone could ever have thought that communism would work. After all, most humans like to have something to strive for, like to hope that by their efforts they will be able to improve their lives; most humans, as far as I am aware, have no burning ambition to be the same as everyone else - in any aspect of life. But, having read The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, I can now understand why intellectuals, and anyone who was not so worn out by hard work and starvation that they had the energy to think about things, would have believed that socialism was the answer to conquering the poverty that most ordinary, working people endured up to, I believe, the second World War.

I found this book interesting, informative and heart-rending - heart-rending that so many hardworking people had to live in such awful conditions; and touching that many of these extremely poor people would still do whatever little they could to try to help those they perceived to be even worse off than themselves.

I did feel that the book went on at over-great length on occasions about the theory/philosophy behind socialism, eg Barrington's lectures, but this is a very small criticism of an excellent book.

I also liked that the book showed that these men living in dire circumstances still maintained (most of them) a sense of humour.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews