I review for the UK’s university weekly, Times Higher Education, short reviews which I enjoy writing and don’t take much time, of new books that catch my eye, or old ones that have stayed with me for years. Recently these have included Franz Kershchenbauer et al‘s Eurojazzland, Noel Kingsbury’s Hybrid, Leah Lievrouw’s Activist and Alternative New Media, Christopher Small’s classic Musicking. This week it’s Chris Coates’s new book, published by the collective co-housing press Diggers and Dreamers, Communes Britannica.
An entertaining, informative directory of social experiments in alternative living. Packed with images and anecdotes, it captures the excitement of the cranks, religious visionaries, dropouts and utopian pragmatists up to and beyond the 1960s and 1970s. I even found out there was a pacifist commune on my street in 1940: Utopia isn’t nowhere, it’s down the road.