Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review: ‘Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism,’ by Chris Jennings

By Kirk Davis Swinehart

By any measure, Ann Lee, the illiterate daughter of a Manchester blacksmith, led one of the most audacious and improbable lives of the 18th century. Irrepressible as ever, the ghost of Ann Lee hovers over every page of Chris Jennings’s uncommonly smart and beautifully written book “Paradise Now.” But in this persuasive telling by Jennings, a writer living in Northern California, the Shakers’ influence found its fullest expression in four other distinct communities started during the first half of the 19th century: New Harmony, the Fourierist Phalanxes, Icaria and Oneida. [link]
PARADISE NOW: The Story of American Utopianism
By Chris Jennings
Illustrated. 488 pp. Random House. $28.