Synopses & Reviews
Oregon has been the home of nearly three hundred communal experiments since the Aurora Colony was established in 1856. Eden Within Eden
is the first book to survey the state's utopian history, from religious and Socialist groups of the nineteenth century to ecologically conscious communities of the twenty-first century.
James J. Kopp examines Oregon's communal history in the context of the state as a destination for those seeking new beginnings and in the framework of utopian and communal experiences across America. Eden Within Eden provides rich detail about utopian communities — some realized, some only planned — many of which reflect broader social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Oregon's history. From the dawn of communal groups in Oregon — the German Christian colony at Auror — to Oregon's most infamous communal experiment — Rajneeshpuram — this study examines the range of attempts to establish ideal communities in the state. These include the Jewish agrarian colony of New Odessa in the 1880s as well as the "new pioneers" of the 1960s and later who captured the spirit of the counterculture as well as growing concerns about the environment.
The book explores other areas of Oregon's utopian heritage as well, including literary works and idealistic city planning. There has been no comparable book published on Oregon's communal history and few such comprehensive examinations of other states. The appendix is a rich compilation that will guide individuals to additional information on the profiled — and many other — communities. Eden Within Eden will appeal to students and scholars of communal studies and Pacific Northwest history, as well as to general readers interested in these subjects.
About the Author
James J. Kopp is director of the Aubrey R. Watzek Library at LewisandClark College in Portland, Oregon. He holds a PhD in American Studies from George Washington University, as well as additional graduate degrees in history and library science. He has been researching the utopian experience in America since his undergraduate years at the University of Oregon and has made presentations on Oregon's utopian heritage across the state through the Oregon Chautauqua program of the Oregon Council for the Humanities. He grew up in Pendleton, Oregon.