/ The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

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Trangia - on 08 May 2012
By Robert Tressel. I'm about a third of the way through this great anti capitalist work. Really enjoying it and I can't think why I've left it so long to read it! It's on a par with the works of Orwell.

Who else has read it?
Dave Kerr - on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

I think it's an important story but not particularly well written. I got a bit irked by the sledgehammer nature of the prose.
Jim Braid - on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: I have. My father was a painter to trade and it featured in his bookcase. Probably read it more than 50 years ago and still sticks in my memory. Essential reading.
Nigel Thomson - on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: Every weekend away we'll sit around the tents looking out at natures wonders enjoying a bifter and me old mate Fraser will often comment, ' I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight.'
Then talk will turn to TRTP and how he read a lot of it in tears. Essential reading in all schools.
mrchewy - on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: Just ordered a copy, what with me being a decorator.
hokkyokusei - on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Read it about 15 years ago. It's been a while, but I don't think it's as good as Orwell.
Dom Whillans on 08 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:
i think he lays it on a bit thick, but the essential truth is plain to see... i really must get on to reading the recommendations that other UKC bods made for me after i asked if there was a similar text which looked at life from the other side.
joan cooper - on 09 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: Try Fame is the Spur by Howard Spring Then its sequel when he becomes a labour MP Both about the time Socialism grew up Based in Manchester.
Daithi O Murchu - on 09 May 2012
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
> I think it's an important story but not particularly well written. I got a bit irked by the sledgehammer nature of the prose.

cant put it any better than that
Ava Adore - on 09 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

We clearly have very different tastes in literature - I think it was dreadful and couldn't get past about 30 pages.
Rob Exile Ward on 09 May 2012
In reply to Dom Whillans: I think he lays it on a bit thick too. Also ... I'm not sure it's either right or fair in some of these books - Love on the Dole is another in the same line - to keep making these working men 'victims' all the time. At various times the working class community had the cash and the energy to create institutes, co-operatives, unions, football teams, choirs, bands, even colleges ... were they all as downtrodden and feeble as some of these books make out?
Trangia - on 18 May 2012
In reply to Ava Adore:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
> We clearly have very different tastes in literature - I think it was dreadful and couldn't get past about 30 pages.

I did read just over 80% of it before giving up, because he tends to repeat the same old theme over and over again....

Now relaxing with Flashman and the Redskins!

Mooncat - on 18 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Thought it was awful, if you haven't already try Germinal (and others) by Zola.
Dave Kerr - on 18 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to Ava Adore)
> [...]
>
>
> Now relaxing with Flashman and the Redskins!

Classic. Probably the best of the Flashmans in my opinion.

homing-penguin - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: I read that when I was about 15. I already hated the system by then.
Trangia - on 19 May 2012
In reply :

My main reason for reading it is because my home town, Hastings, is where Tressel lived. It takes place in Hastings which he calls "Mugsborough" in the book, and from his description it is possible to identify some of the streets and probably houses. Our local paper is the Observer, the "Obscurer" in the book. Hastings Borough Council is Labour and stands surrounded by a sea of blue both to the south and north of the town, the first literally and the latter politically.
Tim Chappell - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

My grandmother had 30s Bloomsbury pretensions; she had a copy. (She had a copy of Mein Kampf too, which I still have.) I tried Tressel but found it silly and preachy. That tends to happen with me and socialist classics. I love Orwell's stuff, and I have the deepest reverence for him, but I don't find Orwell's positive political programme realistic or plausible in the slightest. Any more than I do Leo Tolstoy's or Tony Benn's or Ken Livingstone's.

And as others have said already, Tressel seems like a, er, poor man's Orwell.
Al Evans on 19 May 2012
In reply to joan cooper:
> (In reply to Trangia) Try Fame is the Spur by Howard Spring Then its sequel when he becomes a labour MP Both about the time Socialism grew up Based in Manchester.

Joan, are you the Joan Cooper that I used to know when she lived in Buxton?
Ava Adore - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Tim Chappell:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
>
>
> And as others have said already, Tressel seems like a, er, poor man's Orwell.

Generous. I would have just said his writing's shit.
thin bob on 19 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:
Clunky, but ought to be (abridged) and read in schools.
I couldn't believe it was in the 'reserved' (i.e. In a back room) stock at my local library.

One of the worst-written great books!!
string arms - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Trangia: the story within the political message is good in its own right. The socialist message is laid on a bit too thick at times but for a weighty book its not a bad read. I read east of eden afterwards by steinbeck which was infinitely better and not in the least bit political! couldnt put it down
subalpine - on 19 May 2012
Tim Chappell - on 19 May 2012
In reply to subalpine:


He really is staggeringly glib, Tony Benn, isn't he? The Poll Tax in the 14th century and the Poll Tax in the 20th Century--only Tony Benn could put such style and chutzpah into the utterly air-headed proposition that those two events had any similarities at all beyond their names.

As for this:

The book is not about such reforms alone but about the far more fundamental need to replace the whole capitalist system with a new and more radical socialist society, and even today those who argue for that are still facing some deep pessimism among those who would benefit from such a change.

That's exactly what I don't believe. Whenever the left has achieved anything positive, it's always been by reform, never by revolution. Benn is welcome to Lenin, Stalin, and Castro; I'd rather have Attlee than any of them.
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Fly Fifer - on 19 May 2012
In reply to Trangia:

Worth a read and i enjoyed it some 15 years ago as i recall.

If yer on a political literature tip but with a fiction base tghe following are well worth the time IMHO.

Kafka- essential reading
Dostoyevski
Bulkagov- Master and Margerita - this is outstanding!
Heinrich boll - the clown
William Morris - News from nowhere

For the more abstract and philosopical i would certainly read Milan Kundera- Particularly the brief "Identity" and the classic "Unbearable lightness of being"

Hope you enjoy the end of the book.

Cheers







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