Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World

Jamie Bartlett. Nation, $18.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-56858-986-2
The disparate groups of modern-day utopians Bartlett presents here include Islamophobic Europeans, political parties that reject the label and mission of political parties, free-love practitioners in a Portuguese ecovillage, and a group of crypto-currency enthusiasts trying to create the world’s most libertarian country in a Balkan swamp. The author’s portraits sometimes find these activists at less than their best, whether it is the group of transhumanists careening along in an odd, decidedly whimsical campaign for U.S. president or the shambolic machinations of the U.K. branch of the anti-Islam Pegida movement. The most striking feature of the radicals portrayed, though, is that the rejectionist, exclusionist movements mostly featured seem far more likely to catch on with broader followings than the exception, a psychedelic society dedicated to open-mindedness. Bartlett notes the amplifying effect of the Internet as an echo chamber for affirming beliefs that may not be widely accepted in broader society, and keeps his general observations upbeat, even in an age of angry political populism. He leaves readers with the observation that liberal societies are inherently risky and unstable, but their ability to accommodate radical views is also what allows them to change, and that change is generally for the better. Agent: Caroline Michel, PFD (U.K.). (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-56858-987-9
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