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

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Staff Reviews

Sure, Shakespeare invented all those words we use today, but 'utopia' belonged to Thomas More. Since More's Utopia was published five centuries ago, the word has evolved into an umbrella term, and its scope has broadened dramatically. In his latest book, In Utopia, J.C. Hallman shows us that utopia has now come to mean many things. Utopia is a modern intentional community in Virginia originally based on B.F. Skinner's Walden Two. Utopia is New Songdo, a master-planned megacity built from scratch off the coast of South Korea. Utopia is Pleistocene Rewilding, a conservationist plan to reintroduce giant animals in order to boost ailing ecosystems. Utopia is the Slow Food Movement started in Italy Carlo Petrini. Written in Galeano-like vignettes, Hallman dissects the history of utopian thinking through thoughtful research, earnest personal willingness, and the right amount of wit. Part history book, travelogue, and social commentary, In Utopia is an accessible critique of one of the oldest and longest-surviving social concepts. -- Geo Ong

— From September 2010


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 community in Southern California. Pleistocene Rewilding rekindled in him a longstanding fascination with utopian ideas, and he went on to spend three weeks at the world’s oldest “intentional community,” sail on the first ship where it’s possible to own “real estate,” train at the world’s largest civilian combat-school, and tour a $30 billion megacity built from scratch on an artificial island off the coast of Korea. In Utopia explores the history of utopian literature and thought in the narrative context of the real-life fruits of that history.

About the Author

J.C. HALLMAN grew up in Southern California. He is the author of "The Chess Artist, The Devil is a Gentleman, "and the collection of short stories, "The Hospital for Bad Poets. "
Product Details
ISBN: 9780312378578
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2010
Pages: 288