Coming of Age in Utopia: The Odyssey of an Idea

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NewSouth Books, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 358 pages
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In this exquisitely wrought memoir of a committed life, historian, and civil rights activist, Paul Gaston reveals his deep roots in Fairhope---the unique Utopian community founded in 1894 by his grandfather on the shores of Mobile Bay, Alabama. Fairhope grew into a unique political, economic, and educational experiment and a center of radical economic and educational ideals. As time passed, however, Fairhope's radical nature went into decline. By the early 1950s, the author began to look outward for ways to take part in the coming struggle---the civil rights movement. Gaston's career at the University of Virginia, where he taught from 1957-97, forms the core of Coming of Age in Utopia.
 

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Contents

Prologue Homeward Bound
9
Chapter One Roots
31
Chapter Two Living the Dream
68
Chapter Three Soldier and Student
102
Chapter Seven Government by Demonstration
245
Chapter Eight Widening Vistas
285
Epilogue With Fair Hopes
332
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About the author (2010)

Paul Gaston was born and reared in Fairhope, Alabama, about which he has written two books. He is also the author of The New South Creed, winner of the Lillian Smith Award for distinguished writing about the South. He is a past president of the Southern Regional Council and has been a frequent visitor in South Africa, both before and after the fall of apartheid. He has received numerous honors for both his professional work and civil rights leadership, including the outstanding professor award from the Commonwealth of Virginia; bridge builder recognition from the city of Charlottesville; legendary civil rights activist from the NAACP; and community leader, from his alma mater, Swarthmore College.

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