As a student working in the dusty archives of the Sewanee Review, John Jeremiah Sullivan came across an article entitled ‘Lost Utopia of the American Frontier’ and was immediately hooked on the dramatic story of a lost book, an alternative history of the South, a white Indian. It was a story he’d chase for the next two decades.
In 1735, a charismatic German lawyer and accused atheist named Christian Gottlieb Priber fled Germany under threat of arrest, bound for colonial South Carolina. In the Cherokee village of Grand Tellico, he created a Utopian society that he named Paradise.
For six years, Paradise was governed by a set of revolutionary ideas that included racial equality, sexual freedom, and a lack of private property, ideas which he chronicled in a mysterious manuscript he called Paradise.
Priber’s ideas were so subversive that he was hunted for half a decade and eventually captured by the British – making headlines across the world – and imprisoned until his death. The only copy of Paradise was apparently destroyed.
Now, in a rare combination of ground-breaking research and stunning narrative skill, award-winning writer John Jeremiah Sullivan brings that lost history vividly to life.