Why would a successful American physician choose to live in a twelve-foot-by-twelve-foot cabin without running water or electricity? To find out writer and activist William Powers visited Dr. Jackie Benton in rural North Carolina. No Name Creek gurgled through Bentons permaculture farm and she stroked honeybees wings as she shared her wildcrafter philosophy of living on a planet in crisis. Powers just back from a decade of international aid work then accepted Bentons offer to stay at the cabin for a season while she traveled. There he befriended her eclectic neighbors organic farmers biofuel brewers eco-developers and discovered a sustainable but imperiled way of life. In these pages Powers not only explores this small patch of community but draws on his international experiences with other pockets of resistance. This engrossing tale of Powerss struggle for a meaningful life with a smaller footprint proposes a paradigm shift to an elusive Soft World with clues to personal happiness and global healing.