The Communistic Societies of the United States

Nordhoff, Charles
Publisher:  Schocken Books, USA
Year Published:  1965   First Published:  1875
Pages:  439pp  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6223

Describes a dozen Utopian societies.

Abstract:  Charles Nordhoff describes a dozen Utopian societies of the past and present. He gives detailed accounts of various communities and their ideologies. Groups living collectively did so for varying reasons and to varying results. Nordhoff analyzes these results to come up with his own theory of collective living. The failures of groups in the past can be inspected and avoided by the groups of the future.

In this commentary on communistic societies, Nordhoff presents a number of models for the "good life". These models are anti-capitalist in nature and aim to provide a more human and social way of living and working together.

With a new introductory essay by Franklin H. Littel, the book is made up of 14 parts. Most of these are focused on a single collective. A history, description of customs, explanation of ideas and revelation of the degree of success of each community is provided. Some communities have published literature that is referenced by Nordhoff. If the community failed in the end, Nordhoff provides reasons and methods for such conflicts to be avoided. Later sections look at non-communist colonies and statistical comparisons of the different ideologies. Maps, illustrations and charts are embedded throughout the work.

By looking at many communistic societies together, Nordhoff can provide advice and analysis to future collectives. His own theories are based off the research and information included in this book.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Amana Society
3. The Harmonists at Economy
4. The Separatists of Zoar
5. The Shakers
6. The Oneida and Wallingford Perfectionists
7. The Aurora and Bethel Communes
8. The Icarians
9. The Bishop Hill Colony
10. The Cedar Vale Commune
11. The Social Freedom Community
12. Three Colonies - Not Communistic
13. Comparative View and Review


Subject Headings