Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium

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9780312288907: Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium

Buckminster Fuller, inventor, thinker and architect, was one of the best known Americans of the twentieth century. Often compared to Leonardo da Vinci and called "the planet's friendly genius," he was the inventor of the geodesic dome, the man who coined the term "spaceship earth," and an educator without parallel. Yet, most of his books are out of print today.

To remedy this situation, his longtime friend and architectural partner, Thomas Zung, has compiled a Bucky Fuller reader. This anthology consists of chapters selected from twenty of Bucky's many books, each with a new Introduction by such notables as Arthur C. Clarke, Steve Forbes, Calvin Tomkins, Dr. Martin Meyerson, Sir Harold W. Kroto, Arthur L. Loeb, E. J. Applewhite, and others.

Altogether, this book provides an overview of a remarkable intellectual career and the best possible introduction to the man and his thought. Bucky Fuller was one of the most original thinkers and builders that America has ever produced, and this book makes his work available to a new generation at the beginning of a new millennium.

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Review:

Great minds most certainly do not all think alike. Case in point: R. Buckminster Fuller, who revolutionized Western thinking and design, even though only a tiny fraction of his ideas were ever developed. Outrageously, most of his works are out of print here at the turn of the century, so his collaborator and architectural partner, Thomas T.K. Zung, organized the publication of Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium. Collected are 20 selections from Fuller's books, each introduced by notable thinkers and writers like Steve Forbes and Arthur C. Clarke. Though Fuller's distinctive style--part engineering text, part poetry--takes a bit of extra attention to penetrate, the rewards are tremendous. Though now clichéd, his concept of Spaceship Earth ("only eight thousand miles in diameter, which is almost a negligible dimension in the great vastness of space") blew more minds than the Beatles' "White Album." Zung's selections are juicy and enticing--few readers will be able to resist a trip to the library after reading morsels of Utopia or Oblivion and Epic Poem on the History of Industrialization. The introductions range from scholarly to personal, and close in on Fuller's work and personality without ever quite reaching them-they, of course, are best revealed in his writing and his still-mimicked work. Those new to this thinker will find the anthology breathtaking, while those in the know will discover much that is new, including his amazing $10 telegram version of the theory of relativity. It's hard to overestimate Fuller's importance to 20th- and 21st-century thought, despite his self-description in his last book: "I am now close to 88 and I am confident that the only thing important about me is that I am an average healthy human." If only he knew. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

Thomas Tse Kwai Zung was born in Shanghai, China. He was a student of Buckminster Fuller and, with Fuller's Synergistics, Inc., designed the elongated geodesic dome in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1968. He has worked on various geodesic domes, including the Jitterbug sculpture, Tensegrities, the Fly Eye's dome, and Fuller's last invention, the Hang-It-All. Zung is president of Buckminster Fuller, Sadao and Zung, and also serves as a board member of the Buckminster Fuller institute.

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