‘Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism,’ by Chris Jennings - The New York Times:
"By any measure, Ann Lee, the illiterate daughter of a Manchester blacksmith, led one of the most audacious and improbable lives of the 18th century. Born in 1736, she came of age in the fetid, soul-destroying crucible of English industrialization. But in religion, Lee discovered her native boldness and charisma. She became a prophet and, in 1774, led a small band of followers across the Atlantic. They became known as Shakers. And from a mean cabin in upstate New York they formed a society that would draw thousands into communal villages across much of the United States. Lee did not live to survey her realm. But her social conscience — forged in the bleak shadow of the Manchester mills — animated Shaker communities well into the 20th century."
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