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Robert Owen, I think, is one of the few writers who really gains more than he loses by being read in selections. His books taken as a whole are so verbose and rhetorical that the core of wisdom and good sense, seldom absent, is often lost in desert of words. In selection it is possible to see much more clearly what he was aiming at and what is new and valuable in his thought.
In my last section I have given a number of estimates of Owen - favourable and otherwise - made by contemporaries. And in a few places I have included passages, not by Owen but by his son Robert Dale Owen and others, which seemed to throw useful lights on his work.
My introduction does not pretend to give a detailed account of this life - that has been done elsewhere, or of his thought - that I hope is done by the extracts which follow it.