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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953

Book Reviews

this work is not a tremendously important examination of the
New South's origins. The author has indeed made a significant
contribution to the field of southern history.
The index is excellent, and the thirty-four page "Critical Essay
on Authorities" is one of the numerous superior features of this
study.
JAMES H. MCLENDON
Mississippi State College
Heavens on Earth: Utopian Communities in America, z68o-z88o.
By Mark Holloway. New York (Library Publishers), 1951.
Pp. xiv + 240. 12 plates and map. $4.75-
Utopian communities in this country, which began with Bo-
hemia Manor in 1673 and continue to this day, present an
especially annoying obstacle to careful historiography. The com-
munities are generally highly secretive, and almost any informa-
tion concerning them must be obtained from highly emotion-
ridden sources. Heavens on Earth is a compromise with the prob-
lem, for Mr. Holloway has relied on much secondary material
and has dealt only with the better-known groups, but the book
is still a good survey of the movement, though it ends, unfor-
tunately, without describing the contemporary counterparts of
the movement. It also avoids the spectacular and lurid manifesta-
tions of many of the communities as much as possible.
The communities described fall generally into two classes, re-
ligious and secular utopias. The religious group, both oldest
and most successful, counts communities of more than a hundred
years' duration. Of the secular group, which includes the famous
Brook Farm, the most tenacious were the Icarians, whose first
colony was in Texas in 1848; they were, by the way, treated rather
shabbily by the Texas land agents.
Mr. Holloway, beginning his book with the categorical state-
ment, "there is little to choose between heavens above and
heavens on earth," concludes: "The community experiment was
certainly worth while. The lowest possible estimate must admit
that it was harmless, alike to the nation, the state, and the
individual."
He praises the various utopias for liberal social attitudes and
for producing a high standard of living and workmanship. He

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed May 4, 2015.