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History of American socialisms. Paperback – November 30, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 684 pages
  • Publisher: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library (November 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425568297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425568290
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,436,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886) founded the Oneida Community in 1848 in Oneida, New York. This utopian community had a variety of fascinating beliefs in addition to living commmunally (e.g., Complex Marriage, Male Continence (Dodo Press), Mutual Criticism, etc.). Noyes was eventually imprisoned for advocating certain unorthodox sexual practices (he invented the term "free love," by the way), and the community foundered, eventually morphing into the silverware company Oneida Limited.

This book was nearly the first such "history" of utopian communities to be written. (It is also published as Strange cults and utopias of 19th-century America.) Separate chapters are included on major communities such as Robert Owen's New Harmony; Brook Farm; Hopedale; Skaneateles; the Sylvania Association; the various "Phalanxes" influenced by Charles Fourier; the Brocton Community; the Shakers, and many more---including Noyes' own Oneida community (which he describes as "the only religious community of American origin").

Some editions of the book have a very helpful introduction by Mark Holloway (a noteworthy utopian historian himself; see his Heavens on earth; utopian communities in America, 1680-1880.)

This book largely quotes documents written by the utopian communities themselves, so it is not an "objective," unbiased account. But as "source material" from relatively contemporaneous documents, and simply to get the perspective of one committed "utopian" about other similar communities, it is an invaluable resource.
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