Title Reviewed:
Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias

Author Reviewed:
Marguerite Young

Author:
Elfrieda Lang

Date:
1946

Source:
Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 287-288

Article Type:
Book Review

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Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias. By Marguerite Young. (Reynal & Hitchcock, New York, 1945, pp. 313. $3.00.)

The author attempts to write a history of New Harmony, Indiana, which during the nineteenth century was the scene of two utopias—Johann Georg Rapp's Harmonie which was negative and dictatorial, and Robert Owen's New Harmony which was positive and democratic.

This book does not represent a true picture of New Harmony today. Errors lume up repeatedly and lead one to doubt the use of documents and other sources with respect to this village. Evansville is only twenty-five miles from New Harmony and is best known for its baby foods by Mead Johnson and refrigerators by Servel and is not a pottery center. Mt. Vernon is fourteen miles south of New Harmony and on the Ohio River and not "twenty miles up the river [Wabash]," as the author stated. Woods’ English Prairie was about thirty miles from Harmonie, as the latter was known during the days of Rapp, and was not on the Wabash, but the author stated it was "twenty miles up the Wabash on the Illinois side." Morris Birkbeck's name is misspelled throughout. One receives the impression that the author has given little thought to the actual facts.

The people of New Harmony and of Posey County do not wish to have a beautiful picture painted of the village, but they are interested in having the truth related. One not acquainted with New Harmony might read the book and enjoy it, but that does not hold for the historian or one who was born and reared in the county.

Elfrieda Lang



Published by the Indiana University Department of History.