Transforming Communities


158 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-895686-90-3
DDC 301




Reviewed by Randall White

Randall White is the author of Voice of Region: On the Long Journey to
Senate Reform in Canada and Global Spin: Probing the Globalization
Debate, and the co-author of Toronto Women.


William Luttrell has had something of an intriguing life in Louisiana,
Texas, England, Tanzania, Canada, and (most recently) southern
California. Transforming Communities is a kind of meditation inspired by
his apparently rather troubled experience of the difficult 1990s.

The book seems to be making two different types of argument. One is
essentially moral and political (or even religious), and addressed
principally to readers who already share Luttrell’s own
views—against global corporations and too much technology; and for
women, children, the environment, aboriginal peoples, and so forth. The
other is a sort of prediction about one strand of the complex and
diverse future that seems to lie ahead of us: a modest material
existence not too obsessed by technology, in communities of 10,000 to
100,000 people, several steps removed from the mainstream of the global

One can already see something like this future unfolding in certain
parts of Canada and similar places elsewhere. It will no doubt remain an
alternative rather than become the mainstream in its own right, and it
is perhaps unlikely to evolve in the exact directions Luttrell
prescribes. But, between assorted lines of rhetoric that will not be to
everyone’s taste, the author does have some impressive things to say
(e.g., “We don’t know enough about ourselves or the rest of our
natural environment to care for it successfully.”) The book is
conveniently short and engaging in its own way. It should have some
appeal for readers with a particular interest in alternatives to the
rather dreary future that so many other prophets seem to have in mind
for us today.


Luttrell, William L., “Transforming Communities,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,