The story of an experiment in human brotherhood, communal life, based on confession of sins, community goods, celibacy and withdrawal from the world... From the founders in England (the Wardleys and Mother Ann) to the launching of their gospel in America, with the peak years -- 1640-60 -- and the decline. The spread of the movement, its theology, its scheme of government, the main centers, and the contribution the Shakers made in their time, with their agricultural methods, their industries, their order and security, their community life, their architecture and furnishings. The legacy of the sect to modern times, in spite of failure according to worldly standards. This is a defense, explanation and description, presented with sympathy, care and admiration. A thorough going job.