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In Utopia: Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better Paradise

3.13 of 5 stars 3.13  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  6 reviews
In 2005, J.C. Hallman came across a scientific paper about “Pleistocene Rewilding,” a peculiar idea from conservation biology that suggested repopulating bereft ecosystems with endangered “megafauna.” The plan sounded utterly utopian, but Hallman liked the idea as much as the scientists did—perhaps because he had grown up on a street called Utopia Road in a master-planned ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2010)
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"Utopia is in a bad way," this book starts, then follows with this definition: "Utopia can be broadly defined as any exuberant plan or philosophy intended to perfect life lived collectively" (3). Not many pages later, Hallman lets us know where he stands, which is in favor of this exuberance: "the utopian flame should not be snuffed—it should be stoked anew," he says (13). He goes on to explore, as the subtitle puts it, "six kinds of Eden and the search for a better paradise": Hallman examines d ...more
Aug 26, 2010 Emily added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I've been having a hard time lately getting into novels. I've tried realist and absurdist, whimsical and heavy, and every time period from the Renaissance to the 21st century—nothing seems to fit my mood. Even A.S. Byatt's Possession, which I can tell would normally be un-put-downable for me, is proving only moderately enthralling in my current fiction funk. Luckily, I finally figured out what I AM in the mood for: nonfiction! Not just any nonfiction, but the kind of smoothly-written, thoroughly ...more
This book is part journalism, part history, part travelogue. The author gets a hair up his ass when he hears about Pleistocene Rewilding, supports the idea, and goes on an adventure to explore utopias and utopian ideas throughout history. Hallman starts with More's Utopia and how a lot of people essentially missed the point of the satire, using the book instead as a guideline.

The author moves on to visit modern utopias in different forms and explore their roots in the philosophical (and quite of
Author takes a tour of places and things related to the ever-present drive for, and discusses the needs and the drives for, the desires for Utopia. Overlooked apparently is any deep appreciation for the likes of Huxley's Island, other than to briefly compare it to militaristic Utopias, mainly the only ones he seems to take seriously.
An intriguing look both at the historical concept of Utopia, and at various modern attempts to create it - everything from the Pleistocene Rewilding project to Twin Oaks (a venerable intentional community.)
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