Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism

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For readers of Jill Lepore, Joseph J. Ellis, and Tony Horwitz comes a lively, thought-provoking intellectual history of the golden age of American utopianism—and the bold, revolutionary, and eccentric visions for the future put forward by five of history’s most influential utopian movements.

In the wake of the Enlightenment and the onset of industrialism, a generation of dreamers took it upon themselves to confront the messiness and injustice of a rapidly changing world. To our eyes, the utopian communities that took root in America in the nineteenth century may seem ambitious to the point of delusion, but they attracted members willing to dedicate their lives to creating a new social order and to asking the bold question What should the future look like?

In Paradise Now, Chris Jennings tells the story of five interrelated utopian movements, revealing their relevance both to their time and to our own. Here is Mother Ann Lee, the prophet of the Shakers, who grew up in newly industrialized Manchester, England—and would come to build a quiet but fierce religious tradition on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Even as the society she founded spread across the United States, the Welsh industrialist Robert Owen came to the Indiana frontier to build an egalitarian, rationalist utopia he called the New Moral World. A decade later, followers of the French visionary Charles Fourier blanketed America with colonies devoted to inaugurating a new millennium of pleasure and fraternity. Meanwhile, the French radical Étienne Cabet sailed to Texas with hopes of establishing a communist paradise dedicated to ideals that would be echoed in the next century. And in New York’s Oneida Community, a brilliant Vermonter named John Humphrey Noyes set about creating a new society in which the human spirit could finally be perfected in the image of God.

Over time, these movements fell apart, and the national mood that had inspired them was drowned out by the dream of westward expansion and the waking nightmare of the Civil War. Their most galvanizing ideas, however, lived on, and their audacity has influenced countless political movements since. Their stories remain an inspiration for everyone who seeks to build a better world, for all who ask, What should the future look like?

Praise for Paradise Now

“Uncommonly smart and beautifully written . . . a triumph of scholarship and narration: five stand-alone community studies and a coherent, often spellbinding history of the United States during its tumultuous first half-century . . . Although never less than evenhanded, and sometimes deliciously wry, Jennings writes with obvious affection for his subjects. To read Paradise Now is to be dazzled, humbled and occasionally flabbergasted by the amount of energy and talent sacrificed at utopia’s altar.”The New York Times Book Review

“Writing an impartial, respectful account of these philanthropies and follies is no small task, but Mr. Jennings largely pulls it off with insight and aplomb. Indulgently sympathetic to the utopian impulse in general, he tells a good story. His explanations of the various reformist credos are patient, thought-provoking and . . . entertaining.”The Wall Street Journal

“As a tour guide, Jennings is thoughtful, engaging and witty in the right doses. . . . He makes the subject his own with fresh eyes and a crisp narrative, rich with detail. . . . In the end, Jennings writes, the communards’ disregard for the world as it exists sealed their fate. But in revisiting their stories, he makes a compelling case that our present-day ‘deficit of imagination’ could be similarly fated.”San Francisco Chronicle
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About the author

Chris Jennings grew up in New York City. He graduated from Deep Springs College and Wesleyan University. He lives in Northern California with his dog.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jan 12, 2016
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9780812993714
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
Political Science / Utopias
Social Science / Anthropology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Communes in America: 1975–2000 is the final volume in Miller’s trilogy on the history of American intentional communities. Providing a comprehensive survey of communities during the last quarter of the twentieth century, Miller offers a detailed study of their character, scope, and evolution.
Between 1975 and 2000, the American communal experience evolved dramatically in response to social and environmental challenges that confronted American society as a whole. Long-accepted social norms and institutions—family, religion, medicine, and politics—were questioned as the divorce rate increased, interest in spiritual teachings from Asia grew, and alternative medicine gained ground. Cohousing flourished as a response to an increasing sense of alienation and a need to balance community and private lives. At the same time, Americans became increasingly concerned with environmental protection and preservation of our limited resources. In the face of these social changes, communal living flourished as people sought out communities of
like-minded individuals to pursue a higher purpose.
Organized topically, each chapter in the volume provides basic information about various types of communities and detailed examples of each type, from ecovillages and radical Christian communities to pagan communes and cohousing experiments. Miller also takes a step back to look at the prevalence of communal living in American life over the twentieth century. Based on exhaustive research, Miller’s final volume provides an indispensable survey and guide to understanding utopianism’s enduring presence in American culture.
    When looking into the existence and alleged activities of the infamous Illuminati secret society, one finds an overwhelming amount of conspiracy theories, hidden history, half-truths and hoaxes.  

    But how much truth is there to some of these claims you keep hearing about?  What is the real history of the mysterious group?  Do they continue to exist today?  What is the evidence?  And what are they doing?  

    After a decade of research sifting through the facts and the fiction, secret society expert Mark Dice will help you navigate through the complex maze from the original documents to rare revelations by elite politicians, bankers and businessmen, as he takes you Inside the Illuminati.  

SUBJECTS INCLUDE:

How and when the original writings of Adam Weishaupt and the Illuminati were discovered and what they say.  

See their own contingency plans showing they were prepared to continue operating in the event that they were discovered.  

The direct link between the Skull & Bones society at Yale University and the Bavarian Illuminati.

The connection to communism and Karl Marx’ admission that he was a member of a secret society which commissioned him to write The Communist Manifesto.

How they control the mainstream news media and use blockbuster films as propaganda tools to promote their agenda and shape our culture.

How they created various front groups like the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Federal Reserve to carry out their plans.  

Discover the virtually unknown secret society of secretaries and personal assistants who are trusted to serve elite businessmen and politicians.  

Investigations into the supposed bloodlines of the Illuminati, the Nephilim, and the Divine right of kings.   

Uncovering the Zodiac Club and their little-known twelve-member intimate dinner parties in New York.

The elite secret society of scientists funded by the Department of Defense who were responsible for creating the atomic bomb.  

The secret of “sex magic” and its alleged capabilities and perverted practitioners.  

The Jesuits, the Black Pope, and the Vatican’s child molesting mafia.  

Looking into allegations of child abuse, murder, and snuff films rumored to have taken place at the Bohemian Grove.  

The all-female version of the Bohemian Grove consisting of America’s most powerful women.

Stunning Rockefeller and Rothschild family admissions and the extent of their power and influence.  

The secret Jekyll Island meeting that gave birth to the Federal Reserve System.  

Skull & Bones sister societies Scroll & Key and Wolf’s Head at Yale University and the inter-council meetings these “Big Three” hold.  

The strange spiritual beliefs, philosophies, and occult symbolism of the Mystery Schools and their offshoots.  

Investigations into alleged ex-members ‘Doc’ Marquis, Leo Zagami, Kevin Trudeau, Brice Taylor, George Green, Mark Cleminson, and others.  

The Illuminati’s ultimate goal of creating a New World Order, a cashless society, and soon revealing the “royal secret,” admitting that they do in fact worship Satan.  

Their Transhumanist dream to become immortal Gods using advanced anti-aging technology, cybernetic neural interfaces, and mind uploading for what they see as the final step in human evolution.  

Their preparation for the arrival of the Illuminati messiah (the Antichrist), believing that he will finally rule planet earth as a God.  

How you can work to free yourself from mental, spiritual, and financial enslavement and avoid many of the traps set to ensnare ignorant and uniformed people.  

By the author of The Illuminati: Facts & Fiction

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