The author Michael Chabon grew up in the middle of that act of the imagination known as Columbia, Maryland.
For a lot of reasons, he says, the years he spent beginning in 1969 living on the former site of tobacco fields midway between Baltimore and Washington made him the writer he is today.
It wasn't just the sense of possibility that was engendered in a boy on a bicycle as he watched houses springing up from bare foundations.
Nor was it only the racial and ethnic diversity, though most of his neighbors and his school principal were African-American.
It wasn't even that he became imbued with many of the ideals on which the planned community was...