Form and Content

Sidney Rosen’s Wizard of the Dome: R. Buckminster Fuller, Designer for the Future, a detailed biography of this original thinker, has remarkable continuity for a life story, probably because Fuller was a remarkably persistent man. The ideas on which he began working shortly after quitting college, ideas that all turned on the solution of practical problems such as those of housing, were not accepted or tried out until ten, twenty, or often thirty years after they were developed.

Throughout this period of nonrecognition, Fuller never lost faith in his ideas, advocating them tirelessly. His faith was rooted in the knowledge that he asked basic questions and trusted in the simplicity of nature. When he studied housing, for example, he would not ask “How have houses been built before?” but “What are humans’ needs in connection with dwelling and what type of structure would best satisfy those needs?” His belief in the simplicity of nature is epitomized by his contention, at first scoffed at but later accepted, that nature’s structures are necessarily built from whatever three-dimensional forms are the simplest and most stable.

Fittingly in a book so concerned with the life of the mind, each chapter seamlessly blends the historical narrative of Fuller’s tribulations and successes with lucid presentations of his thoughts on natural and human structures that are illustrated with line drawings and given background, when...

(The entire section is 453 words.)