Crossway Publications
Published: 2001 (reprint edition)
xv+295 pages

In Search of Utopia

E. K. Francis

First published by D. W. Friesen & Sons (Altona, Manitoba), 1955.

From the back cover: This is a reprint of a classic work by the noted sociologist, Dr. E. K. Francis of Munich, Germany. It was the first scholarly study of Manitoba Mennonites, and had a profound impact in understanding on all who are interested in the history of these people, both academic and lay. That is attested by these responses:

“The most thorough and complete sociological analysis of any Mennonite community ever made … epoch making in its field.” Dr. H. S. Bender, Dean of Goshen College and editor, Mennonite Quarterly Review

“Combining the skills of the historian and sociologist, the author presents an objective and readable account of a religious community in a manner that is creditable to the author and to the Manitoba Historical Society.” Chris Vickers, Winnipeg Free Press

“This study is a major contribution to knowledge in this field.” John A. Hostetler, sociologist

“This book, exact in its portrayal, written in readable and lively language, belongs to the best that has been written about the Germans in America.” Walter Kuhn, Hamburg, Germany

“He comes nearer to catching and understanding the deep religious motivations of the Canadian Mennonites, than any other outside writer has done.” Melvin Gingerich, editor, Mennonite Weekly Review

From the text: Some 400 years ago, the Mennonites set out to find Utopia. About 45,000 of their descendants are now living in Manitoba. Their religious faith has forged them into a solid community. They have changed, and still are changing, from a religious group to an ethnic group. But when culture change was forced upon them, they changed as a group thus sparing individual members the misery and mental agonies of the marginal man. Devices which had been invented in an attempt to reorganize rural life in Western society, such as cooperatives, appear in their system as young shoots springing forth from the green roots of an aged trunk whose top has been capped by the storms of time. Utopia is farther beyond the horizon than ever. But Manitoba’s Mennonites have found social and psychological security in their well-organized communities, and sufficient wealth to give them a sense of satisfaction and contentedness.