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This book offers a passionate intellectual history of the utopian ideal that presented itself in socialist thought at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and which continued to develop alongside (more, in spite of) later developments in socialism that ultimately came to greatest notoriety in Lenins Russian experiment. As a summation of an underrepresented set of beliefs and thinkers, this book deserves a place on any thinking persons bookshelf; as a guide to what freedom, kinship, industry, or town life really look like in a utopian socialism, it never fails to frustrate the reader, on the one hand by diverting into the theoretical aspects of Proudhon, Kropotkin, and Landauer without any reference to how their thought might look in practice, and on the other by laying out historical examples, texts, or institutions with the assumption that the reader will be familiar with all of them -- this latter most infuriating in the last chapter, when, in the course of explaining the experiment that has not failed, the Jewish Kvuza in Palestine, Buber strays between vagueness and technicality without giving a picture of how these communities operated on the day-to-day, common, personal level. For a primer on a more human, connected socialism, this book feels strangely inhuman, falling into an abyss either of idealism (good, but inadequate) or bureaucratic cataloging. I enjoyed this book, but was disappointed.
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