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Publisher's Summary

Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (1842-1921) was the leading - and the most widely admired - anarchist Communist in the last decades of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th. He lived long enough to see the establishment of Communism in Russia under Lenin, who acknowledged Kropotkin’s commitment to political change. However, Kropotkin was a very different kind of revolutionary figure, for he argued not only for Communism but anarchist Communism, distrusting and even despising central government control in favour of a more individual sense of responsibility and civic duty. 

In The Conquest of Bread, first published in 1892, Kropotkin set out his ideas on how his heightened idealism could work. It was all the more extraordinary because he was born into an aristocratic land-owning family - with some 1,200 male serfs - though from his student years his liberal views and his fixation on the need for social change saw him take a revolutionary path. This led rapidly to decades of exile. Even today, The Conquest of Bread is fascinating listening.  

It is a passionate, even a fierce polemic for dramatic social change. Kropotkin looks at the European revolutions, from the French Revolution to the upheavals of 1848 and later 19th-century events, commenting on why they were ultimately unsuccessful. Like Karl Marx he was convinced that major social upheaval was inevitable, but he argued for a different social structure - one where innate human goodness would not only overcome individualist capitalist greed but obviate the necessity of overbearing government control. Kropotkin’s faith in humanity and the reasonableness of man may seem naive, but his slogans are persuasive. ‘All belongs to all’; 'well-being for all’; ‘anarchist Communism, Communism without government - the Communism of the free: it is the synthesis of the two ideals pursued by humanity throughout the ages - economic and political liberty.’ 

His views encompassed further ideals: wealth should not hoarded by the few but distributed to each according to his need; women must be released from traditional domestic drudgery (he predicted that new machines would lightening the domestic load); the working day could easily be reduced to five hours a day, allowing more leisure time. With these innovations, Kropotkin argues, the future would be very different. 

The Conquest of Bread is a classic political text of an idealistic vision that may never come to pass but which contains views which are difficult - theoretically - to dismiss.

Public Domain (P)2018 Ukemi Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Conquest of Bread

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Outstanding delivery, great theory.

Peter Kenny's delivery was phenomenal. It almost felt like I was listening to Kropotkin himself.

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  • TheFrozenBiscuit
  • 2020-04-08

Excellent

Kropotkin made some excellent criticisms of Marx and has made me think more critically about the views that I hold. I have been an undefined Marxist until now, but I will have to reconsider this in light of reading The Conquest of Bread.

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  • David B.
  • 2020-10-16

Control to the workers!

Well-written, well-narrated. this book really made me think about inequality in our society today, and in particular about how I can't believe Jeff Bezos made so much money while Amazon workers contracted COVID-19 due to unsafe workplace policies with minimal hazard pay and were fired (and in some cases smeared and ruined) for organizing for dignified working conditions.

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  • Gabriel
  • 2019-01-02

“All is for All”

A book of amazing analysis & prediction of Capitalist & authoritative systems that strip the masses of any form of empowerment. Runs with the assertion using scientific experience that humanity is above all else, Good and full of a love for creation. Even translated to English, Kropotkin has a lovely handle of prose and a powerful moving way with words. I tend to be biased against British narrators since they have a tendency to be extremely dry & lifeless but this narrator had a unique voice and great ability to read that kept me hooked to every word. Essential reading for anybody who wants to make the world a better place.

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  • Aaron J. Osborn
  • 2021-01-12

Out of date

There is allot of good information here but it is so out of date it hard to read.

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  • Rose M Baldwin
  • 2020-11-05

An interesting read

It's not so surprising how little has changed in a century. Definitely a book I will reread.

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  • Terry
  • 2021-12-30

Utopian Communism

The author basically praised the miracles of capitalism and the enormous leap forward humanity had made over the last 100 years as it was at the time when this book was written. He then proceeded to propose a system that would inherently destroy all of that progress, but yet he goes further and assumes communism could take place without a State. I think that part is one of the most unworkable portions of this fantasy book that is to have a stateless communism.

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  • Bhautik
  • 2021-12-27

Most Hopeful Book, a vision of best of humanity

this book is a must read for anyone, it is accessible to this day. Whether you read a lot or not, the author puts things in the plainest of terms which resonate with any human who can feel and be empathetic.

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  • Joshua Hardin
  • 2021-08-24

Brilliant content read by an expressive narrator

The Conquest of Bread is a seminal work of anarchist literature that plainly lays out arguments for a stateless society founded on the principles of mutual aid and communism. Kropotkin addresses failures of other communist systems to liberate fully the workers from the structures of capital.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-08-07

voice actor is great, the story is okay.

I wish he would address the corruption potential, giving power is corrupting. For example, the person or group that has all the food now has the means to force their will on others. congrats you now have a goverment that had no problem taking power and this happens everytime communism is tired.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-06-16

an amazing book a d narrator

I enjoyed this extremely well written literature by an anarchist generous and a fantastic narrator