ABOUT THE BOOK


From subjects to citizens: it’s a transition that people in many nations of the world have made during the last 100 years. But it hasn’t been easy. Community building has been impeded by two world wars, economic hardship, oppression, persecution, and fumbling attempts at international order. It is undeniable, though, that humanity has made significant progress in empowering citizens to take control of their destiny. This book traces that progress through the remarkable and previously- unpublished story of one man, Peter Oberlander. Born into a comfortable middle-class family in Vienna after World War I, he survived persecution and hostility in Austria, Britain and Canada to become a pioneer in showing how citizens can build democratic, humane and sustainable cities. His story reminds us that, as citizens with rights and responsibilities at the local, national and international levels, we have unprecedented power over our destiny. Will we use that power for a better future or will we squander it through nativism, protectionism and tribal conflict?