Fact of Fiction: Author Series present Susan Wels


From 1848 to 1881, a small utopian colony in upstate New York—the Oneida Community—was known for its shocking sexual practices, from open marriage and free love to the sexual training of young boys by older women. And in 1881, a one-time member of the Oneida Community—Charles Julius Guiteau—assassinated President James Garfield in a brutal crime that shook America to its core.

Susan Wels, author of An Assassin in Utopia, shares this interwoven tale. Of course, she inserts one fiction into this unbelievable but true story. Will I recognize the fiction within the facts? Will you?


The Oneida community members lived and worked together in ways we might find shocking by today’s standards. Wikimedia Commons
John Humphrey Noyes was the founder of the Oneida Community.
John Humphrey Noyes was the founder of the Oneida Community. Wikimedia Commons
Image shows Charles Guiteau, the man who assassinated President James Garfield. Wikimedia Commons
This poster advertises Horace Greeley for President. Wikimedia Commons
Newspaper owner and editor Horace Greeley sponsored Utopian communities. Wikimedia Commons
President James Garfield was the 20th president of the United States of America. Wikimedia Commons
This image shows Major Pauline Cushman, Union spy and friend of future president Jame Garfield. Wikimedia Commons
This drawing illustrates the aftermath of the assassination of President James Garfield. Wikimedia Commons
In addition to writing An Assassin in Utopia, Susan Wels has developed a discussion guide for book clubs wishing to study An Assassin in Utopia. Click on her picture to learn more.
You can click on the book cover here to learn how to purchase your own copy of An Assassin in Utopia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *