After their discharge from military service, Lieutenant Rogers invites his friend, Steve
Jamnik, to visit his college campus.
They meet Professor Burris, his former psychology
instructor, and Rogers explains that they are in search of a place for themselves in
But they do not want to begin again in their earlier ways.
fighting a war, they want to start fresh in life, to experiment, to try new ways of living.
"Why not get some people together and set up a social system somewhere that will really
work?" Rogers asks his former professor.
"There are a lot of things about the way we're
all living now that are completely insane-"
In particular, the young men want to locate the author of a magazine article on an
experimental community apparently much like one that Professor Burris discussed in his
psychology classes years earlier.
It turns out that Burris, some time ago, did know this
author, T. E. Frazier.
He agrees to write to Frazier, asking if this experimental
community, Walden Two, is still in existence and if it still accepts visitors. (Chapter 1)
The potential touring party becomes larger when two young women join. Barbara
Macklin is Rogers' fiancé, and Mary Grove is a friend of Steve Jamnik.
Professor Burris has met a colleague from the Philosophy Department, skeptical
Augustine Castle. Fascinated by thoughts of ideal societies, Castle immediately accepts
an invitation to visit, making a group of six altogether.
In the meantime, Rogers has found Frazier's article. It emphasizes that political activity is
of little use in building a better world. Instead, economic self-sufficiency can be obtained
with modern technology, and the psychological problems of group living can be managed
through the principles of "behavioral engineering."
The group leaves on Wednesday, planning to spend the rest of the week on this
After a trip by train and bus, they are met by Frazier at a deserted bus stop.
He is simply dressed and wears a scarcely visible beard.
The ride in his station wagon takes them from the main highway through prosperous farm
lands, by typical farmhouses and barns, and then to a series of buildings of a different
sort, earthcolored, built of rammed earth and stone.
Arranged in levels and connected in
wings and extensions, these buildings, part of Walden Two, follow the landscape in a
Taken to their rooms in pairs-the young women, young men, and two professors--they
find them small and functional, with large windows, all much alike.
wood with natural finish, and earth-colored walls set the tone.
After surveying their
room, Burris and Castle take an unexpected nap. (Chapter 2)
"We shall have fifty or sixty hours together," says Frazier upon awakening them.
do you say to a leisurely start?"
Their walk takes them first by an expanse of cropped grass.
Frazier explains that the
sheep cut the grass.
The flock is kept together, as a movable lawnmower, by a length of