"A unique and useful source book. . . . Not the least of its virtues is its welcome reminder that seemingly endless communitarian debates over ideology and organization concerned a crucial and very concrete issue: how to reshape every aspect of Americans' daily existence."—Journal of American History
"Using primary sources and archival material, the author describes everyday work, play and lifestyle of communards, and devotes separate chapters to music, writing, and other intellectual activities. The material is exploratory and descriptive."—Choice
Decades before the communes of the sixties, nineteenth-century radicals set up isolated colonies where they hoped to insulate themselves from a corrupt mainstream America. Throughout the country, experimental utopian settlements promised to fulfill the lives of ordinary citizens through abundance, equality, and free education. Utopian Episodes tells why these early, freethinking rebels could never fully achieve their goals, but how their legacy has become an integral part of today’s movement for social reform.