From the orderly, practical buildings and furnishings at Hancock Shaker Village to the carefully planted heirloom gardens at Old Salem, America's nineteenth-century utopian communities reflect the country's long-standing fascination with idyllic societies isolated from the rest of humanity. With their latest guidebook, Gerald and Patricia Gutek invite history and travel enthusiasts of all ages to join them in visiting twenty preserved or re-created oases of utopian life. These communities, which stand as testaments to the lofty ideals and sometimes bizarre beliefs of their inhabitants, offer intimate glimpses into the lives, architecture, and remarkable commitment of men and women who frequently sacrificed material wealth and individual freedom in their quest to create a heaven on earth.
Each entry includes a description of the community's origin, ideology, history, and significance; a biographical sketch of its often charismatic founder; a self-guided tour detailing the architecture, industries, crafts, art, and artifacts associated with the settlement; current telephone numbers, times of operation, and admission fees; and information about restaurants, shops, facilities, lodgings, tours, and special events.
Gerald Gutek is a professor of education and history and former dean of education at Loyola University in Chicago.
Patricia Gutek is a travel writer who has worked as an English teacher, an editor, and a full-time mother. Together they have written six guides. When not on the road, the Guteks live in a suburb of Chicago.
"Gerald and Patricia Gutek have performed the educated public a valuable service by providing basic descriptions of nineteen of the more prominent communal village sites plus brief mentions of a few more and an entry for one related off-site museum."—Public Historian