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Short Synopsis
Told by a descendant of one of the Community's original families, Oneida is a captivating story that straddles two centuries to reveal how a radical, free-love sect, turning its back on its own ideals, transformed into a purveyor of the white-picket-fence American dream.

Full Synopsis
In the early nineteenth century, many Americans were looking for an alternative to the Puritanism that had been the foundation of the new country. Amid the fervor of the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening, John Humphrey Noyes, a spirited but socially awkward young man, attracted a group of devoted followers with his fiery sermons about creating Jesus' millennial kingdom here on Earth. Noyes established a revolutionary community in rural New York centered around achieving a life free of sin through God's grace, while also espousing equality of the sexes and "complex marriage," a system of free love where sexual relations with multiple partners was encouraged. When the Community disbanded in 1880, a new generation of Oneidans sought to exorcise the ghost of their fathers' disreputable sexual theories. Converted into a joint-stock company, Oneida Community, Limited, would go on to become one of the nation's leading manufacturers of silverware.

Told by a descendant of one of the Community's original families, Oneida is a captivating story that straddles two centuries to reveal how a radical, free-love sect transformed into a purveyor of the white-picket-fence American dream.

"Narrator Khristine Hvam finds drama in the many branches of the Oneida Community's family tree." ---AudioFile

"Wayland-Smith is a gifted writer. Her lively account of how Oneida eventually succumbed to “the gods of Science and Doubt” is a welcome change from most “as told by” family histories" ---New York Times

"This book is a fascinating look into the strange history of Oneida silverware and how its origins reflect an exhilarating period of American history." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Publishers Weekly Review

Oneida

From Free Love Utopia to the Well-Set Table

Author Ellen Wayland-Smith

Narrated by Khristine Hvam

Publication date May 3, 2016

Running time 12 hrs 4 min

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