The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. By Robert Tressell. CSA Word Classic ISBN 1-904605-13-3 2004 (approx 5hrs on 4 cds)

The ragged Trousered Philanthropists is a highly celebrated and surprisingly modern novel that since first publication has won many followers. Rooted in socialist ideals, it was voted amongst the nations top 100 books in the BBC Big Read. It tells the story of a group of decorators (Tressell was one himself) who cope reasonably with their impoverished life until one of them, Frank Owen, hands out regular attacks on the greed and dishonesty of the capitalists who themselves ‘do nothing’. But Owen’s words fall on deaf ears as the working men believe that there is nothing they can do about their lot. That is until the ‘posher’ Barrington takes up the cudgels with Owen as they fight for a fairer Britain.
Originally published in 1914 three years after Robert Tressell’s death from TB at the age of 40, the first edition was considered far too long and it was substantially abridged. In 1918 it was abridged even further, remaining in circulation in its shorter version until 1955 when it was published in its original form. Peopled with credible characters and rich in evocative speeches then novel lends itself naturally to the spoken word medium. This newly abridged audio version concentrates on the social and political issues with particular relevance to today’s society. Tony Robinson, himself an active member of the Labour Party narrates and Stephen Twigg MP features as the voice of Barrington bringing a new and exciting dimension to this classic novel.