Set in 1890’s Imperial Germany, this remarkable novella follows the arc of a family as narrated by the head as he initially enthuses over the socialist sweep to power. Quickly, however, he progresses through various stages of disenfranchisement that inevitably follows: first tempering his expectations, then ratcheting them downward, followed by grappling with cognitive dissonance brought about by the internal contradictions of the new system.
When those contradictions are inescapable, he finally spirals into angst and despair as he comes to fully comprehend the horrors of socialism.
Realizing it is too late for himself, his family and livelihood largely destroyed, he commits one final act of repudiation against his socialist future.
Originally written in German in 1893 by the journalist and politician Eugen Richter, it was translated into English in 1907 by Henry Wright with Thomas Mackay providing an introduction to the English text. Now that so-called “democratic socialism” is finding new found vogue in the current age, Mark E. Jeftovic provides a new forward with contemporary context.