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BOOK REVIEW UTOPIAN COMMUNITIES A Book Review By Jonathan Herbert Florida has always been an escape for many O F F L O R I D A people seeking any number of personal freedoms, and co-authors Nick Wynne and John Knetsch bring an intriguing and in-depth view of the state and its history of hope in “Utopian Communities of Florida.” This collection of Florida history is an intriguing and in-depth view of the state. It guides the reader through the inside of utopian communities unique to the people who built them, and provides a history few know about. The authors bring us to a place of reflection … and possibly gives the answer as to why we make Florida our home today. According to Sir Thomas More a “perfect society” is a place where strife is forbidden, where everyone is allowed to do as they please as long as it does not interfere with the happiness of their fellow Utopians, and there is no want for food, comfort or companionship. It is an ideal society for all. The clash of two ideals, “utopianism” (derived from the word “utopia”), ver sus “communitarianism” (conscious effor t to set up an ideal society), is detailed within an introduction that prepares the reader for what to expect throughout the book. “Flor ida has long been viewed as a land of hope and endless possibilities. Visionaries seeking to establish new communities where they could escape the influences of society at large have turned to Florida to construct their utopias.” Author Nick Wynne has three degrees from the Univer sity of Georgia and is the executive director emeritus of the Florida Historical Society. In retirement, Nick writes fiction and authors histor y books. An avid photograph collector, he is active on several histor y sites on Facebook. In addition to his writing, Nick is also a much-indemand speaker on Florida histor y topics. Author Joe Knetsch holds a doctor ate in history from Flor ida State University and is a prolific author, as well as a well-known and very active public lecturer and researcher. He is active in a number of professional societies, has wr itten extensively in a number of nationally-recognized journals and has contributed chapters in many books. One fascinating Japanese settlement, The Yamato Colony, is linked to Henr y Flagler and his land company subsidiary. Between 1896 and 1912 they actively pur sued buyers of vacant land including the Japanese immigr ants who formed the Yamato Colony.


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