Looking Backward: 2000-1887

Read by Anna Simon

(4.3 stars; 40 reviews)

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy, first published in 1888. It was the third largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up more than a century later. He finds himself in the same location (Boston, Massachusetts) but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the U.S.A. has been transformed into a socialist utopia. This book outlines Bellamy's complex thoughts about improving the future, and is an indictment of industrial capitalism. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia) (7 hr 45 min)


01 - Preface & Chapter 1 22:12 Read by Anna Simon
02 - Chapter 2 & 3 25:49 Read by Anna Simon
03 - Chapter 4 & 5 27:18 Read by Anna Simon
04 - Chapter 6 & 7 22:34 Read by Anna Simon
05 - Chapter 8 & 9 31:21 Read by Anna Simon
06 - Chapter 10 & 11 30:06 Read by Anna Simon
07 - Chapter 12 22:41 Read by Anna Simon
08 - Chapter 13 & 14 30:43 Read by Anna Simon
09 - Chapter 15 & 16 26:58 Read by Anna Simon
10 - Chapter 17 & 18 26:50 Read by Anna Simon
11 - Chapter 19, 20 & 21 35:57 Read by Anna Simon
12 - Chapter 22 31:09 Read by Anna Simon
13 - Chapter 23 & 24 12:41 Read by Anna Simon
14 - Chapter 25 23:55 Read by Anna Simon
15 - Chapter 26 34:14 Read by Anna Simon
16 - Chapter 27 21:15 Read by Anna Simon
17 - Chapter 28 39:22 Read by Anna Simon


Well done futurist communist lit read beautifully

(5 stars)

As someone with naive communist sympathies, this was a great find. I can actually visualize the society laid out here. The changes in culture - the sensibilities of people with a relaxed and fulfilled well-being - are well imagined. There is a superficial romance added in; it does work for the books purposes. This is read by my favorite Librivox narrator; kind thanks to her.

Great read

(5 stars)

Great book, but most of all, the best narrator I've had the pleasure of listening to this far.

perfect plan

(5 stars)

Well read, and no wonder it was a popular book in a post awakening and in an industrial infancy. But like most plans, perfect until implementing. A narrow look back at the 18th or 17th centuries. This history of social registry and old money as a launch pad to illustrate America's classes is an arrogant fantasy of the early refugees of Europe. And were the subject of criticism by my ancestor Samuel Hubbard and friend of Roger Williams. Who's observations of how quickly those seeking liberties of Religion and thought were quick to adopt the very same prejudices that they were escaping. The inclination of men to over value their worth is the fault of Communist and Capitalist alike. Again, we'll read.

So idealistic, I got bored

(2 stars)

All the chapters of explanations about how the new society worked, while at first were interesting, they kept coming and coming. I got bored with them. I found a chapter synopsis online and skipped to Chapter 23 (wanted 24, but it was combined in the file with 23). The plot picked up a bit past that point so I could finish the book. The reader is excellent. The audio quality is great. The "story" got too bogged down in explaining this utopia in all its aspects. Maybe I'm just not one for political science / political economy / idealism.

Refreshing Idealism

(5 stars)

Anna Simon does an excellent job. What motivates Bellamy is a refreshing idealism sadly lacking for the most part in our current politics. While his top-down, one-size-fits-all plan for government cooperatively owned by The People is flawed. His ideals of having people self-actualized and more fairly compensated for giving their best efforts is on solid ground. No wonder so many people were attracted to Bellamy in the 19th century, when the book was the best selling novel behind Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben-Hur.

good reader, interesting novel

(5 stars)

Reader was perf, no notes Story was interesting as are all past predictions of the future. Clearly the author's vision of 2000 did not come to fruition. One aspect I found specifically interesting was the still present misogyny in the utopian ideal future and the lack of mention of race. Consider the time it was written, this lack is rather striking. Overall not bad though.

(5 stars)

If only we could give up chasing profit and money long enough to realize utopia can be had the moment we give up taking at the expense of others and give others what we love to do the most.

(4 stars)

Well read, but tediously written. Its sad in a way to think intelligent people really thought communism would overcome human nature and we'd all be living in a utopia by now. An interesting primary source of a sort.