The Intelligent Woman's Guide To Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism by George Bernard Shaw. (Alma Books, One World Classics, £12.99)

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GEORGE Bernard Shaw wrote the first edition of this book in 1928 for his sister- in-law, Lady Cholmondeley, who wanted simply a few ideas on Socialism.

Shaw updated it in 1937. Started in 1924, the author’s theme is how social injustices destroy human lives and how everyone should earn and own exactly the same regardless of their status, age, gender and skills. He elaborates how capitalism devalues human character and that, much like economic ideas today, thinks (mistakenly) that people are only driven by the thought of having money.

He questions why the politicians on the Left do not understand why the poor do not rebel often, and points out that it is hope and dreams that drive them on. He writes 86 short observances on the state of different political debates but concludes that nothing works as it stands now, and only when there are enough people willing to change it will society become ideal.

Shaw’s views in one volume are both remarkable and useful giving us an overview to world political systems; however, we also have history and the later views of writers like George Orwell to influence our thinking and judgement but, in the end, Idealism is a state of mind and never considers the free-will of individuality. Nevertheless this is an engrossing, though difficult, book to read and very relevant for today and for future generations.

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