In the early 19th century, many Americans were looking for an alternative to the Puritanism that had been the foundation of the new country. Amid the fervor of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening, John Humphrey Noyes, a spirited but socially awkward young man, attracted a group of devoted followers with his fiery sermons about creating Jesus' millennial kingdom here on Earth.
Noyes established a revolutionary community in rural New York centered around achieving a life free of sin through God's grace while also espousing equality of the sexes and "complex marriage", a system of free love where sexual relations with multiple partners was encouraged. When the community disbanded in 1880, a new generation of Oneidans sought to exorcise the ghost of their fathers' disreputable sexual theories. Converted into a joint-stock company, Oneida Community, Limited, would go on to become one of the nation's leading manufacturers of silverware.
Told by a descendant of one of the community's original families, Oneida is a captivating story that straddles two centuries to reveal how a radical, free-love sect transformed into a purveyor of the white-picket-fence American dream.
©2016 Ellen Wayland-Smith (P)2016 Tantor
"This book is a fascinating look into the strange history of Oneida silverware and how its origins reflect an exhilarating period of American history." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a fascinating social history of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. The stsory weaves together religious innovations, utopian experiments, labor and industry history. Not a dull moment. And the reader gives an outstanding performance.
The description of the marital arrangements with its attempt to wipe out all exclusive personal attachments. This is the most eccentric but engrossing part of the story.
No particualrly favorite scene, but I chose this book because I needed to use some credits. I was surprised by how good it is.
This recording is what a recorded book should be, a well written, informative, entertaining story perfectly read by the narrator.
Especially in light of the "Burning", this book serves an important purpose in its encyclopedic account of the history of Oneida, which is at times incompatible with crisp story telling. By the end, the reader will feel rewarded for granting the author this indulgence. Most 21st century Americans lack sufficient appreciation for the explosion of free thinking and radical experimentation occasioned by our liberation from the English monarchy. This book will cure that deficiency.
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