by J.C. Hallman
"Hallman entertains with an ironic, Alain de Botton style of erudite bonhomie and scads of self-referential postmodernism, but his intellectual embrace is copious and his conclusion sincere: 'the failure of good intentions should not be met with inaction, but with further good intentions, with better intention.'" — Publisher's Weekly
In 2005, J.C. Hallman stumbled across a scientific paper about "Pleistocene Rewilding," a peculiar proposal from conservation biology that suggested repopulating bereft ecosystems with endangered "megafauna." The plan sounded utterly utopian, but Hallman liked the idea as much as the scientists did—perhaps because he had grown up on a street called Utopia Road in a master-planned community in Southern California.
Pleistocene Rewilding rekindled a long-standing fascination with utopian ideas. From there, Hallman set out to document the history of utopian thought and literature and to visit a handful of modern utopian projects. He lived three weeks at the world's oldest "intentional community." He sailed on the first ship on which it's possible to own real estate. He trained at the world's largest civilian combat school. He toured a $30 billion megacity being built from scratch on an artificial island off the coast of Korea. The book that resulted looks backward as often as it looks forward. Utopia, Hallman claims, should no longer speak only to naive, impossible plans.
Combining rollicking intellectual history and playful journalism, In Utopia explores and interprets a concept as influential as any in the history of mankind.
In Utopia: Six Kinds of Eden and the Search for a Better
Paradise by J. C. Hallman
Released August 3, 2010, St. Martin's Press