Utopia

Jason Zasky interviews Richard Francis about his history of “Fruitlands,"the utopian experiment led by Bronson Alcottfather of Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women”and English Transcendentalist Charles Lane:

Their regime was to eat fruit and vegetablespreferably raw, though they did eat cooked potatoes. They washed in cold water and wouldn’t use any spices. They also wouldn’t use alcohol or tobacco, and wouldn’t use any animal products in their clothing. And they wouldn’t use cotton [because] it was the product of slavery, so they wore linen. It’s not surprising that they got cold, and that the community began to falter as winter came on.

(Photo from Detroit by Jason Tester via David Pescovitz)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.