Life Liberty Happiness tells a story to present an idea. For the past 50 years man has been building communities for the wrong reasons, and now it is beginning to come apart. There is a better way, one based on timeless patterns benefiting from modern technology. The better way? The VillageTown.
The book tells the story of now-retired town planner, Ed Rice, who lost his drivers licence, forcing him to sell his suburban home of 50 years and find a place where he can get by without a car. His choices are few and grim, and the book opens as Michael, his limo driver picks him up to take him to an affordable retirement home four hours away.
Ed began his career in the 1950's when as a young architect his first job was to approve that suburban development in the town of Blandville. He approved all the suburban tracts for homes, strip malls, office and industrial parks, enclosed shopping malls and the miles and miles of commercial boulevards with their big box chain stores, fast food outlets, hollow motels, vast car dealerships, and other monuments to economic mediocrity and social vacuity.
Car-less, Ed begins to realize what an utter mess he created. As Michael drives him past his life's work, in a kind of catharsis, Ed explains to Michael the problems and blandness of suburban sprawl. Finally, emotionally exhausted as the car pulls onto the freeway, Ed drifts off to sleep.
He awakens when Michael the driver stops for lunch... at a VillageTown where they park in the motorpool and then walk into a 10,000-population town made of twenty villages. Each village has a completely different look and feel as the people who live there participated in the design and theme their own village.
Ed meets the people who live there, and they tell him their stories and tell about their village. This brings to life the idea of living in a VillageTown in a way not possible in a book of non-fiction.
Interestingly, not all of the book are words of the author, Claude Lewenz. Some of the people Ed encounters are real, living people and the stories they tell are their own, in their own words.
Perhaps the most notable of these in Chapter 12 is Stewart Udall, former US congressman and Interior Secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Udall tells how he was a freshman congressman in 1956 when Senator Al Gore Sr. sponsored the Interstate Highway Act that established the framework for suburban sprawl. In his own words, Stewart Udall explains to Ed how there was no debate, no real consideration, and how it proved to be a colossal mistake.
The book, Life Liberty Happiness, intends to be more than just entertaining or inspiring. It introduces a new idea. Its success will not be judged on how many books are sold, but how many VillageTowns are built. Having said that, the author agreed to take no royalties and the publisher to take no fees. Therefore:
All net profits from book sales will go to building VillageTowns. Thus, the book functions both as a fundraiser and as an introduction for people who may decide they want to live in a VillageTown and participate in its development.
If you like the idea, buy the book, become involved, and build your village.show more