"A definitive account of the Ruskin colonies and of their place in the larger social radical strivings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. . . . Well written and solidly researched, it gives us an understanding of an important quest for heaven on earth." -- Edward K. Spann, author of Brotherly Tomorrows: Movements for a Cooperative Society in America,1820-1920
This first book-length study of the Ruskin colonies shows how several hundred utopian socialists gathered as a cooperative community in Tennessee and Georgia in the late nineteenth century. The communitarians' noble but fatally flawed act of social endeavor revealed the courage and desperation they felt as they searched for alternatives to the chaotic and competitive individualism of the age of robber barons and for a viable model for a just and humane society at a time of profound uncertainty about public life in the United States.