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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Louis
  • rockledge, FL, USA
  • 09-25-16

Fascinating social history

What did you love best about Oneida?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Oneida?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

No particualrly favorite scene, but I chose this book because I needed to use some credits. I was surprised by how good it is.

Any additional comments?

This recording is what a recorded book should be, a well written, informative, entertaining story perfectly read by the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Narration was annoying

Seemed like the writer had a per word contract. Although at times, very vivid, there were far too many words used to get a point across.

A fascinating story but, because of the performance, I longed for the story to end, but could only stand to have it read about an hour at a time. The male/female voice inflection was overdone. A great walk through history during the Industrial Age of the US.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Time Well Spent

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful