WIZARD OF THE DOME: R. Buckminster Fuller by Sidney Rosen

WIZARD OF THE DOME: R. Buckminster Fuller

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At the last Uncle Bucky, surrounded by children, is conducting a lesson on boxes: ""You all saw--a cube made of flexible parts cannot stand by itself! But now I'll reshape that box into a triangle shape called a tetrahedron. Let's say that word together: tet-ra-hed-ron!"". Omitting the pronunciation, Mr. Rosen is equally a pedagogue with a tendency to proselytize: he makes a great puff ball of Fuller's protean personality but he does explicate the man's ideas distinctly. Much of this is spent on the middle ground, tracing the development of Fuller's thought in terms of his experiences--and also, unfortunately, in pretentious prose: ""So it was on Bear Island, that tiny speck of land in Penobscot Bay where the tide rose and fell fifteen feet each hour, that the boy named Bucky Fuller began to be conscious of the ways in which man used his technical knowledge to overcome the challenges posed by nature."" The practice of interjecting inappropriate information persists: at one point Fuller contemplates suicide, whereupon the reader is subjected to 3+ pages of assorted news from the year 1927 (""a year of exciting changes for the civilized world"") before learning what he decides and why. As a biography this is an embarrassment, as a reading experience it's sometimes excruciating--but as a guide to the principles underlying the Dymaxion House (and car and map), Fuller's vector geometry and the geodesic dome that grew from it, this is actually more intelligible than John McHale's (adult) study of the structures themselves.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown