The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists Originally published in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a timeless story of socialism political awakenings and class struggle told with a volatile mix of heartfelt rage and sly humour

  • Title: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
  • Author: Robert Tressell
  • ISBN: 9780007204502
  • Page: 396
  • Format: Paperback
  • Originally published in 1914, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a timeless story of socialism, political awakenings and class struggle, told with a volatile mix of heartfelt rage and sly humour The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists tells the story of a group of working men who are joined one day by Owen, a journeyman prophet with a vision of a just society Owen s spOriginally published in 1914, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a timeless story of socialism, political awakenings and class struggle, told with a volatile mix of heartfelt rage and sly humour The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists tells the story of a group of working men who are joined one day by Owen, a journeyman prophet with a vision of a just society Owen s spirited attacks on the greed and dishonesty of the capitalist system rouse his fellow men from their political quietism It is both a masterpiece of wit and political passion and one of the most authentic novels of English working class life ever written This enduring favourite is now reinvigorated by a smart new jacket and exclusive extra material as part of Harper Perennial s Modern Classics line of reissues Now its timeless message of justice, equality and reason will be introduced to a whole new generation of discerning readers.

    One thought on “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”

    1. This book makes me feel like a bad leftie. I wanted to like it so much more than I did, and while parts of it are very powerful, the book is overlong, and treads the same ground so often that I had to force myself to finish it. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

    2. Not what I was expecting, no Hardy-style wife selling, or Dostoevsky-style pushing daughter into prostitution to earn some hard cash and less searing than Boys from the Blackstuff. Maybe it is too English and mild mannered, I mean there are only three deaths and only one couple forced into the workhouse - what kind of indictment of capitalism is this!Perhaps that is the book's secret strength. It is not a picture of extreme hardship but it's working class characters are boxed in a trap from whic [...]

    3. If you've ever reflected on the woes of the world, this novel might offer some relief.Relief that is, from any illusion that things will probably be ok; that we have learnt from mistakes of the past, and that we are at the dawn of some enlightened benevolent age.Written and set in the Edwardian era of 1901 to 1910, Robert Tressell describes his work "My main object was to write a readable story full of human interest and based on the happenings of everyday life, the subject of Socialism being tr [...]

    4. Read as part of The Infinite Variety Reading Challenge, based on the BBC's Big Read Poll of 2003.Just wonderful. At times sickening, but also heartening and exactly what one needs in this era, for good and bad. Moreso brilliant for what it stands for rather than how it is written or the plot, but even so the plot is worthy in its own right. Full review to follow.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

    5. Everyone should read this book. 100 years on we have a welfare state, the NHS and numerous rights at work. These are precious and well fought for but recent government is trying to undermine and backtrack on these achievements. Privatisation of parts of the NHS, selling off Royal Mail - a profitable state-owned public service, zero-hour contracts and demonisation in the press (run by those who have a massive stake in the system) of the poor, disabled, working poor and anyone else who is consider [...]

    6. I read the complete, unedited text, after being given it as a rather thoughtful Christmas present. It is rightly heralded as a classic piece of working-class literature, as it takes you into the brutish yet everyday horrors endured by the British working-class, at a time when socialism was beginning to gain ground. One of the most arresting aspects, is how little our lives have changed in the time since it was written (1914). Certainly there have been great strides forward in many aspects, but t [...]

    7. A passionately written socialist polemic describing the hardships Edwardian housepainters had to endure. There are no shades of grey in this novel, and the author believes that if you have a point to make, dont make it once when you can do it twenty times. Additionally the solution presented in the book with the benefit of being able to look back at the 20th century is naive to say the least. What however endures in this book beyond any doubt and provides it with a compelling voice even today is [...]

    8. This novel is set at the start of the 20th century and the birth of Britain’s Labour party as they attempt to bring about a Socialist utopia for the working classes. Outlining the resistance to change by the Liberal and Tory governing classes as well as the very workers that would benefit the most from the changes highlights the idiocy of the day. The working classes did not seek to better their lot condemning their children to the same fate even when the Socialists demonstrate the folly of co [...]

    9. I first came across this while reading the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole - a "sacred text" of mine when I was about 12. Adrian, wanting to be an intellectual, had got hold of the book but - I think - wasn´t sure he wanted to read a book about badly dressed stamp collectors. Now this book itself has become something of a sacred text to a lot of people and - finally getting around to reading it at 44 years young - I can see why.I don´t have much to add to what you can read in the other reviews or [...]

    10. This classic example of early socialist fiction, little read at the time of its publication nearly a hundred years ago, has found favour in recent times following the questioning of the capitalist system brought on by the credit crunch. Concentrating on working conditions in a painting and decorating outfit, the book celebrates the labour theory of value and condemns the exploiting class. Whilst occasionally subsiding into a ranting, didactic style, Tressell writes with enough verve, humour and [...]

    11. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a novel by Robert Tressell first published in 1914 after his death in 1911. An explicitly political work, it is widely regarded as a classic of working-class literature. Robert Tressell was the pen name of Irish writer Robert Croker, who later changed his name to Robert Noonan. It seems to me it would be easier to just keep your name then try to go through whatever it is to go through to change your name not only once but twice. The name Crocker was the na [...]

    12. What a book. This is a novel exposing greed, corruption and the pusillanimous nature of the class system which is as relevant today as it was on the day it was published.The story revolves around the plight of working men and how they are perceived by and treated as sub-human commodities by their bosses and the bosses underlings. Tressell (a nom-de-plume for Robert Noonan)was a journeyman painter and decorator and moved from his native Ireland to follow any work he could find. The novel is a dis [...]

    13. A must read for anybody interested in socialism or the life of the working class before its emergence. Told before the NHS and before welfare, reading it now is a reminder of what current governments are trying to take us back to. The book tries to expose greed and exploitative working conditions and it's quite disheartening to think that 100 years on the battle remains, quite possibly even more so. The worst thing about this book is that it is still relevant.

    14. I originally got this book from my local library and set about reading it daily on my commute to work. my commute used to be 40 minutes and the time flew by as I turned page after page of this book. I have always been a bookworm and can say hand on heart that this is one of two books that I call the best books I have ever read. The other is To Kill a Mockingbird. I cannot explain to people why I love this book as much as I do, it is the only book that has ever made me laugh and cry.Since I read [...]

    15. Socialist classic and allegedly the book that won the 1945 election for Labour, I had the good fortune to find a cheap copy in the small independent book shop near the University when I was a student in Sheffield. I would never have believed that thirty years later, and with the book itself now over 100 years old, we would be back in a world where workers in underpaid, irregular work can literally go hungry.I still think there's no better explanation of the failings of capitalism than Owen's dem [...]

    16. For what could have easily turned out as a really long political tratise, this was a fabulous good read! I loved everything about it. The names of the characters (Tressell names all the baddies in the story with names that describe their character like Dickens, only actually funny), the dialect, the era, the details of the work the characters were doind. ALL of it was great. It's not often you get to the end of a 620 page novel and then go back to the beginning and read all the notes, the prefac [...]

    17. The tale is set in Mugborough, about 200 miles from London. It tells an everyday story of those who work in the building trade particularly painter and decorators. It was written in 1906 and details a year in the life of the works, their families, and the men/firms who employ them. There is a constant fear of unemployment which means that rents cannot be paid, food cannot be bought, debts mount, workers get ill, eventually die or become so destitute they get sent to the workhouse for their pains [...]

    18. This book, as well as being a socialist's bible, is a gripping commentary on the social conditions of the timea detailed and scathing Marxist analysis of the relationship between the working class people and their employers. The "philanthropists" of the title are the workers who, in Noonan 's view, acquiesce in their own exploitation in the interests of their bosses. Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the inequalities and corruption of society, Tressell's cast o [...]

    19. I read this on the recommendation of an ex brick layer, who said reading this book at a young age helped define his life. What is really striking is how little so many things seem to have changed in the labour market. Written with humour, compassion , and love.

    20. Tadhg's narration was wonderful -- this free public domain audiobook was of better quality than some commercial audiobooks!As for the book itself, it is a bitterly savage satire on the social, economic and religious conditions in England during the early years of the twentieth century. In some ways this reminded me of Dos Passos's trilogy [U.S.A.]. Both books make it crystal clear why socialism, Bolshevism/communism, trade unions and anarchy were popular ideas in the years immediately preceding [...]

    21. Set in the early Edwardian era, at the same time as they were sipping tea at Howard’s End and children were talking to sand-fairies, this is a rare attempt to give voice to the lot of the working man. And its not a comfortable tale either, there is greed, exploitation, corruption and most of all the sheer drudgery of struggling from day to day, week to week on a miserable pittance.It’s said it won the post-war election for Labour, and you can see why, after the equality of war-time there was [...]

    22. This novel's focus is a single town and building company in turn-of-the century England, through which the author reveals the widespread exploitative conditions in the English building trades. The book makes a compelling case for working class organization and socialist movement as a response to exploitation, but is less successful as a novel.Characters are too starkly black and white - from their names (Slyme, Didlum) to their all-good or all-bad natures, plot is neglected at the expense of rhe [...]

    23. A long book which I read on Kindle. It seemed at least 3 times its actual length and I felt to have been reading it forever. Whilst not entirely joyless, my reading "glass" felt to be dangerously empty much of the time.This is to be expected perhaps: the lives of working class people at the beginning of the 20th century could be fairly grim. The tone of the novel is bleak, dark and hopeless, none of the joyous wit of Dickens. The variety of wit on offer here is the bitterest sarcasm which, after [...]

    24. Most critics seem to comment on the book being a Socialist rant. This is true but despite this the book holds much cultural truth and still holds up to this day with regards to its social commentary. Tressell conveys a message about human needs and requirements and uses Socialism as a tool to point out the flaws of the current system of living, and how we may emerge into a more balanced social order, for all peoples. Tressell's main observation is pointing out the ignorance amongst people unwill [...]

    25. First published in 1914, Robert Tressell's novel 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' has been hailed by many as the quintessential socialist novel. In many ways, it works as a form of fictional accompaniment to Orwell's 'The Road to Wigan Pier'. What Tressell achieved in this novel was one of the first 20th century fictional works that analysed the plight of the working class from the perspective of a person who was very much a part of that plight - Tressell himself.When reading The Ragged Tr [...]

    26. First of all -this book could easily be at least a third shorter than it is.There are many pages of polemic that go on too long and are repeated over and over through the book.Also, the author can't do children's 'voices.' Several times in the book he has children speaking like adult politicians.But it is undeniably an important work that, sadly, is still relevant today.It follows the appalling working lives of a group of decorators at the beginning of the 1900s.The details of how they are worke [...]

    27. Robert Tressell began life in a privileged family. He had great talents as an author but failed to make money at it and ended up in dire poverty, buried unknown. His book takes us inside his personal life working as a laborer on house construction projects in England. Portraits of his co-workers and their families are heartrending. We learn the ins and outs of construction trades in meticulous detail. Socialist views are well presented as the workers argue vehemently. One writhes to read about t [...]

    28. Just an incredible, incredible book. I started off reading it as a Conservative, and by the time I had finished I had decided I would probably join the union at work, and consider voting Labour at the next election! I hadn't heard of it before, but have since discovered how influential this book was at the time of publication, and it is very easy to see why. I was constantly reminded of two other books whilst reading this: The Grapes of Wrath, in which Steinbeck describes poverty and survival wi [...]

    29. Having read various reviews and heard often about this book, I expected to like it much more than I did.At the beginning I found the story and ideas interesting and started to identify with the main characters, but as you progress through the novel the same arguments are repeated over and over again, often using identical wording, making the whole book start to feel like a bit of a struggle. I still have about a quarter of the book to go, but already I am skimming sections (something I never usu [...]

    30. I really wanted to like this. It's a powerful, passionate polemic full of well-reasoned arguments and real-life examples But it's like being bashed over the head with a Das Kapital towel for three hours. Yes, yes, we get the point Mr Tressle, you don't need to keep repeating yourself. A fascinating insight into the preWW1 years and the terrible conditions that prevailed, with no safety net for the precariously-emplyed painters and decorators who are the main characters, all too aware that they a [...]

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