For Erik Reece, life, at last, was good: he was newly married, gainfully employed, living in a creekside cabin in his beloved Kentucky woods. It sounded, as he describes it, "like a country song with a happy ending." And yet he was still haunted by a sense that the world-or, more specifically, his country-could be better. He couldn't ignore his conviction that, in fact, the good ol' USA was in the midst of great social, environmental, and political crises. Where did we-here, in the land of Jeffersonian optimism and better tomorrows-go wrong?
Rather than despair, Reece turned to those who had dared to imagine radically different futures for America. What followed was a giant road trip and research adventure through the sites of America's utopian communities, both historical and contemporary, known and unknown, successful and catastrophic. What he uncovered was not just a series of lost histories and broken visionaries but also a continuing and vital but hidden idealistic tradition in American intellectual history. Utopia Drive is an important and definitive reconstruction of that tradition. It is also, perhaps, a new framework to help us find a genuinely sustainable way forward.
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