Animal Farm

Animal Farm

George Orwell

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism. In the book, Old Major, the old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals on the farm together for a meeting, during which he refers to humans as…

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A Lodge in the Wilderness

A Lodge in the Wilderness

John Buchan

A Lodge in the Wilderness is a 1906 political quasi-novel by the Scottish author John Buchan. The book relates an imagined conference arranged by a multi-millionaire, Francis Carey, to discuss Empire. The guests are contemporary figures from the upper and professional classes, nine men and nine women who have in common superb articulateness, wide experience, and an interest in understanding how Empire might be a positive influence…

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Democracy, An American Novel

Democracy, An American Novel

Henry Adams

Democracy: An American Novel is a political novel written by Henry Brooks Adams and published anonymously in 1880. It is a novel about political power, its acquisition, use and abuse. It is set at the beginning of a new administration, with the election campaign just over and the new President of the United States just having been elected. However, all the characters depicted are entirely fictitious…

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Spirits Rebellious

Spirits Rebellious

Kahlil Gibran

A book so powerful it was burned in the marketplace of Beirut at the time of its publication, Kahlil Gibran’s Spirits Rebellious is a clarion call for freedom in his homeland of Lebanon; for individuals and society. His bitter denunciation of religious and political injustice flows through the three parables, that of “Madame Rose Hanie,” “The Cry of the Graves,” and “Kahlil the Heretic.”

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The New Machiavelli

The New Machiavelli

H. G. Wells

The New Machiavelli was first serialized in The English Review in 1910. Because its plot notoriously derived from Wells’s affair with Amber Reeves and satirized Beatrice and Sidney Webb, it was ‘the literary scandal of its day.’ The novel’s principal themes are politics and sex, both abiding preoccupations of the author. The development of political and sexual passion in the protagonist is traced in intricate detail; the artificiality…

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Vivian Grey

Vivian Grey

Benjamin Disraeli

Vivian Grey follows its eponymous hero from childhood through his attempt to succeed in the world of politics, which he chooses as his career. The novel traces his abortive attempt to gain political power through manipulation of an influential member of parliament.

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The Prime Minister

The Prime Minister

Anthony Trollope

Despite his mysterious antecedents, an unscrupulous financial speculator, Ferdinand Lopez, aspires to marry into respectability and wealth and join the ranks of British society. One of the nineteenth century’s most memorable outsiders, Lopez’s story is set against that of the ultimate insider, Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium…

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Phineas Redux

Phineas Redux

Anthony Trollope

His beloved wife having died in childbirth, Phineas Finn finds Irish society and his job as a Poorhouse Inspector dull and unsatisfying after the excitement of his former career as a Member of Parliament. Back in England, the Whigs are determined to overturn the Tory majority in Parliament. As Finn had been considered…

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Phineas Finn

Phineas Finn

Anthony Trollope

The second of Trollope’s ‘Palliser’ novels introduces its title character, Phineas Finn, a talented but naive doctor’s son from Ireland with Parliamentary aspirations. He must make numerous practical and ethical choices regarding his career, his political beliefs, and his romantic life, in hopes of emerging with his character, reputation…

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The Possessed

The Possessed

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Possessed, also translated as The Devils or Demons, is an 1872 novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. As the revolutionary democrats begin to rise in Russia, different ideologies begin to collide. Dostoevsky casts a critical eye on both the left-wing idealists, exposing their ideas and ideological foundation as demonic, and the conservative establishment’s ineptitude in dealing with those ideas and their social consequences.

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