The paradise myth has been one of the most powerful motivators in human history, influencing and energizing all kinds of individuals and groups. From the Assassins of twelfth-century Persia to the Pilgrim Fathers of America; from Pythagoras to modern-day downsizers, there have always been those who would seek perfection on earth. This hope for an earthly paradise drives humanity onwards, pressing for change and offering salvation. Yet it also comes attached to religious beliefs such as Armageddon, original sin and martyrdom - all notions that influence modern life even when hidden beneath a veneer of secularism. Kevin Rushby traces the belief in paradise from its earliest origins down to the present day, taking in a vast array of characters, particularly from within Christian and Islamic cultures. The story carries us not only through the delights of the botanic gardens and utopian dreams of seventeenth-century Europe but also to terrible events such as the Holocaust and the atrocities of modern-day religious extremism. Paradise uncovers the history of an idea and in doing so reveals some of the key events and characters that have shaped our view of perfect happiness.