Walden Two is a book written by the American writer Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Walden Two was his second published book and it was first published in 1948. A few years later, in 1976, the book was revised and republished, this time with an introduction.
Skinner’s first book analyzed human behavior from a psychological point of view and in Walden Two he analyzed the possibility of altering a person’s behavior through different methods. While his first book is characterized as being a non-fiction book, his second one is a utopian novel.
The action of the novel takes place in late 1940s, after the end of the Second World War and is centered around two former soldiers interested in joining a utopian society. The two men are invited to join the community, named Walden Two and together with their girlfriends they agree to go and see the community.
The leader of the community, Frazier, explains that everyone in the community is subjected to behavioral engineering and that the reason their community thrives is because they do not insist on continuing a certain type of government even when it seems counterproductive. In comparison with the American society in the 1940s, Walden Two is more accepting and puts a great emphasis on the idea of equality and justice. The social norms that rule the outside world do not exist in Walden Two and despite this the men see that those who live in the community are happy and appear to be free to do whatever they want. At the end of the novel, the two decide to join the community and to change their way of life.
The book was critically acclaimed by many but some chose to compare it to other utopian books written during the same period, namely Brave New World. Despite all this, the novel is considered as being a success and is still considered by many as being a classic to this date.