You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future, by Jonathon Keats (OUP, 2016)

Keats Jon (2016)

Fuller is intriguing and Keats’s account of him brisk and enjoyable, but it slightly lost focus as it went on — or perhaps it found a different focus from the one it started with. After a brief biographical introduction that notes the extent of Fuller’s self-mythologization, the core of the book consists of six chapters exploring themes that Fuller himself was intrigued by: mobility, shelter, education, planning, environment, and peace. By the last two, Keats freely wanders away from Fuller’s actual works and instead gives considerable space to more recent projects that have parallels to what Fuller envisaged. In the last of these chapters, which considers strategy games and simulations, Fuller is a marginal presence.

Keats writes crisply and punchily, like a good long-form journalist, though it felt as if the writing were looser by the end. It’s surprising, indeed astonishing, that there are no illustrations. I guess any likely reader of this book knows what a geodesic dome looks like, but I’d have liked a photo or a diagram of his Dymaxion vehicle, for instance.

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