February 9, 2009
Reviews for my new book The Fair Hope of Heaven/A Hundred Years After Utopia have begun to trickle in on amazon.com
See for yourself:
Some dreams are realistic, some are utopian. I would almost put in the latter category my dream of someday writing a book with the exquisite timing of this one. One day, we find ourselves living in the very prototype of an advanced capitalist society; a few months later, Newsweek adorns its cover with the inscription, “We Are All Socialists Now.” And indeed, that "S" word is now on everyone's lips. But when you read Mary Lois Timbes’ newest work on Fairhope, Alabama, you might not use the word socialist quite so glibly. This is a charming, breezy read about a town founded roughly a century ago on the belief in the idea of Henry George, who believed that land is the only commodity that should be taxed at all, and all citizens should share equitably in the fruits of those taxes.
Yet, as Ms. Timbes tell us, Fairhope was not socialist. It was, in fact, the model of an individualistic society in the sense of celebrating the diversity and accepting the eccentricities of its residents—the kind of characters who typically would be ostracized in small towns and lost in big ones.
Reading about Fairhope would be a delightful experience at any time, but it is especially valuable now, when we are all questioning some of the assumptions upon which our social and economic thinking has been based. Get ready to experience a place where you probably wished you could live, but never imagined existed. You?ll revel in the outstanding accomplishments of its residents of yesteryear and wonder why its current residents haven't been interested in returning the town to the glories of its past. Perhaps after reading this book, they just might.
This was written by Washington D.C. attorney, blogger and author Dan Spiro.
Dr. Paul M. Gaston, author of a number of books about Fairhope, writes:
With insight and sensitivity, Mary Lois Timbes recalls and reveals the Fairhope utopian colony as it once was and has become. The biographical sketches of some of the colony's unique characters will delight those who knew them and attract those who meet them here for the first time.
This from Perdita Buchan, a writer and teacher of writing, whose own book Utopia, New Jersey, inspired me to get back to writing this, my latest opus:
The Fair Hope of Heaven is a charming evocation of the town on Mobile Bay that began as a utopian experiment - and of the many unusual and appealing characters who made it their home from its beginning in 1894 to the present. Eccentric they may have been, but they lived lives valuable to themselves and the community. And it is valuable to have them remembered.
I'm told by John Sledge that there will be a review of the book in the Mobile Press-Register as well. If you want to find out about the book first hand, it's for sale in Fairhope's Page and Palette bookstore.