GREENBACK: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America
By Jason Goodwin. Holt. 320 pp. $26
driving addiction, combined with single-use zoning, which separates homes from public spaces and services that are crucial to real neighborhoods, has created the barren "bedroom community," designed not around human needs but around three-car garages, wide streets, and highway access to shopping malls.
Another factor driving our residential excess is an orgy of consumerism. We simply need more space for all our stuff. Friedman and Krawitz remind us, for example, that a "wired" home once meant a black telephone in...