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Eyewitness to Utopia:

Scientific Conquest and Communal Settlement in C.-A. Lesueur's Sketches of the Frontier


Utopia is no myth. It was there, at the frontier, the missing link between George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Apollo 17. Three progressive minds made it happen. Two had a vision of the future. One told their story in his sketchbooks: the true story of the scientific conquest of America.

After courageously defending the city of Paris in 1814 and 1815, first to protect Napoleon, next to get rid of him, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur was in need of a better world. A philanthropic businessman provided the opportunity. Enthused by his scientific knowledge, William Maclure brought the French explorer to the United States. There he met the Founding Fathers and all the great minds of his time. Every knowledgeable American agreed to this: no one knew more than Lesueur. He was a living encyclopedia, the most talented student of Georges Cuvier. His contributions to American science were revolutionary. Then, suddenly, history forgot about him when together with a group of intellectuals he created an experimental scientific utopia. Abandoned by most of his friends on the American frontier, he initiated its geological exploration and systematic discovery.

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur was an eyewitness to his era. The drawings he made between 1816 and 1837, and which are reproduced in this 498-page book (160 watercolors, sketches and engravings by Lesueur), illustrate the following topics:

Sketches of the United States of America and early American utopias (1816-1837); Charles Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846), explorer, geologist, zoologist and natural history painter; William Maclure (1763-1840), father of American geology and utopian philosopher; Robert Owen (1771-1858), British social reformer and utopian philosopher; Early history of New Harmony, Indiana (1814-1837); Early history of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (1812-1825); Early history of the United States Geological Survey (1839-1879); Pestalozzian schools of Joseph Neef (1770-1854) and Marie Duclos Fretageot (1783-1833); Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827); History of lithography in the USA (1807-1822); Creation of the Smithsonian Institution (1836-1856); The Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806); The Stephen. H. Long expedition (1819-1820); The American Revolution (1775-1783); The Louisiana Purchase (1803); The War of 1812; The United States Boundary Commission (1819); Harmonists in America (1803-1832); Moravians in America (1741-1825); English settlements on Prairie Albion, Illinois (1825-1826); Slave emancipation in Nashoba, Tennessee (1825-1830); The Valley Forge retreat of George Washington (1732-1799); The Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826); The boyhood of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). With additional photographs and maps.

Language: English

Eyewitness to Utopia: Scientific Conquest and Communal Settlement in C.-A. Lesueur’s Sketches of the Frontier. Drawings by Charles-Alexandre Lesueur. Foreword by Edouard Philippe, Donald E. Pitzer and Ralph G. Schwarz. Translated by Leslie J. Roberts. Heuqueville, France: Heiligon, 2019.

Eyewitness to Utopia is available as an eBook and exists in three printed editions (26,7 cm x 21 cm / 498 pages).


Click on the links here to order your edition of the book:


° Economy edition (ISBN 978 2 491405 04 5)
- Soft cover, 498 pages, 49 color illustrations, 277 black-and-white illustrations
- USD 60 / GBP 45 / EUR 49 (*)

° Deluxe edition (ISBN 978 2 491405 02 1)
- Hard cover, 498 pages, 100 color illustrations, 226 black-and-white illustrations
- USD 75 / GBP 59 / EUR 64 (*)

° Scholar's edition (ISBN 978 2 491405 01 4)
- Hard cover, 498 pages, 300 color illustrations, 26 black-and-white illustrations
- USD 90 / GBP 70 / EUR 75 (*)

° eBook (ISBN 978 2 491405 00 7)
- Print replica, 498 pages, 300 color illustrations, 26 black-and-white illustrations
- USD 24.15 / GBP 19.91 / EUR 21.80 (*)

(*) PLEASE NOTE! Prices may vary because of fluctuating exchange rates.
Free shipping inside the European Union.


 

 

 

 

Eyewitness to Utopia book cover by Bauke Ritsert Rinsma and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur

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bibliothèque

Books and Articles on C.-A. Lesueur, the Baudin Expedition to Australia, and Robert Owen's Utopia in New Harmony


Whenever possible, works prior to 1946 will be made available for research on this website. These include books, articles and manuscripts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, related to the life and work of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur and his travels through Australia, Europe and North America. Below is the list of currently accessible documents:

1807 - François Péron, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Historique 1 (first edition)
1807 - Charles-Alexandre Lesueur et Nicolas-Martin Petit, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Atlas 1 (first edition)
1811 - Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Atlas 2
1815 - Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Navigation et Géographie
1815 - Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Histoire Naturelle
1816 - Louis Freyciney, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Historique 2 (first edition)

1824 - François Péron et Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Vol. 1 (second edition)
1824 - François Péron et Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Vol. 2 (second edition)
1824 - François Péron et Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Vol. 3 (second edition)
1824 - François Péron et Louis Freycinet, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Vol. 4 (deuxième édition)
1824 - Charles-Alexandre Lesueur et Nicolas-Martin Petit, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Atlas 1 (second edition)
1824 - Charles-Alexandre Lesueur et Nicolas-Martin Petit, Voyage aux Terres Australes - Atlas 2 (second edition)

1825 - Samuel Cuming, Western Pilot
1840 - William Swainson,  "Lesueur, Ch. A. - General Zoology"
1842 - H. Deligny, "Biographie Normande - M. C.-A. Lesueur"

1844 - Samuel George Morton, "A Memoir of William Maclure"
1849 - George Ord, "A Memoir of Charles Alexander [sic] Lesueur"
1858 - C. Oursel, E. Quesney, E. Marcel, "Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, Naturaliste, Né au Havre"

1874 - Robert Dale Owen, Threading My Way
1895 - David Star Jordan, "A Sketch of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur"
1902 - George Browning Lockwood, The New Harmony Communities

1904 - Ernest Hamy, Les Voyages de Ch. Alex. Lesueur en Amérique du Nord
1938 - Robert R. G. Vail, The American Sketchbooks of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur
2019 - Ritsert Rinsma, Eyewitness to Utopia: Scientific Conquest and Communal Settlement in C.-A. Lesueur's Sketches of the Frontier

 

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