The hero is anyone who has ever longed for escape to a better life. The time is tomorrow. The place is a Utopian America. This is the backdrop for Edward Bellamy's prophetic novel about a young Boston gentleman who is mysteriously transported from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century, from a world of war and want to a world of peace and plenty. Translated into more than twenty languages, and the most widely read novel of its time, Looking Backward is more than a brilliant visionary's view of the future. It is a blueprint of the "perfect society," a guidebook that stimulated some of the prominent thinkers of our age. John Dewey, Charles Beard, and Edward Weeks, in separate surveys conducted in 1935, listed Edward Bellamy's novel as the most influential work written by an American in the preceding fifty years.
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