In Man and Mission: E. B. Gaston and the Origins of the Fairhope Single Tax Colony, historian Paul Gaston relates his grandfather's 1864 founding of the utopian community of Fairhope, Alabama. The twenty-eight “Fairhopers” hoped to realize an “equality of opportunity, the full reward of individual efforts, and the benefits of co-operation in matters of general concern,” at a time when the economic system of the United States was ravaged by monopoly capitalism. Using family and public records, Man and Mission gives an intimate view of a vibrant moment in the history of Gilded Age America.
Grandson of the founder of Fairhope, and himself born on Colony land and a graduate of the Colony's 'Organic School' of education, Paul Gaston has nevertheless avoided the obvious pitfalls of nostalgia. The story of the origins of Fairhope, Alabama, deftly recaptured by a distinguished historian of the South, enriches the American heritage.
—Larry Goodwyn, professor of history, Duke University
Paul Gaston's powerful and concise story of Fairhope's origins enlightens us all about a fascinating moment in history, a time that continues to instruct us on human values like fairness and equality.
—Robert J. Norrell, Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence, University of Tennessee
Historian Paul Gaston explains more clearly than any previous writer the context in which the Fairhope experiment began. Amid the conflicting claims of Socialist, Single-Taxer, communitarian, and Populist, a remarkable experiment was born. All interested in the history of that experiment, as well as the enduring artistic and intellectual iconoclasm that survives in Fairhope, will find this small volume invaluable.
—Dr. Wayne Flynt, Distinguished University Professor, Auburn University