42-Year Old ‘Rediscovered’ Manuscript Offers Look At Early Life Of Habitat Founder

AMERICUS, Ga. — A new book chronicles the early life of the late Millard Fuller–founder of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing–a self-made millionaire by age 29 who gave away everything in order to save his marriage and seek a new direction.

The book, “Beyond the American Dream,” was written by Fuller himself and completed in 1968, eight years before he launched the affordable housing movement, when he and his wife Linda were still determining where life would take them next. He kept a journal in his desk and wrote in detail about his new business and law ventures.


Linda discovered the 42-year-old manuscript in the back of a filing cabinet a few weeks after Millard’s death in early 2009 and realized its significance. Millard and Linda built Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing from the ground up. Their story continues to inspire and impact people around the world.

Author of 10 other books, Fuller’s autobiography is a compelling narrative describing Fuller’s childhood and the events that came after, all leading up to the crucial moment where the couple’s marriage nearly crumbled and they chose to start fresh–and penniless.

Millard details his experience at age 30, following a call from God to give away his money. In these pages, he openly expresses moments of doubt, joy and drive to make the world a better place.

“I was married to Millard nine out of the 30 years covered in this manually-typed autobiography. It got tucked away before I, or anyone else, had a chance to read it,” Linda said. “A few weeks following Millard’s sudden and unexpected death, typing the manuscript on my computer helped heal some of the intense grief I was feeling.”

Millard’s “first and last” book is being officially released at the second annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Indianapolis Sept. 3-10, 2010. Simultaneously, a total of 100 Fuller Center homes will be built, renovated and dedicated worldwide to honor Millard by carrying on his extraordinary legacy.

Linda Fuller will hold a booksigning Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, along with the premiere of a new documentary about Millard also entitled “Beyond the American Dream.” The public is invited to attend.

As with all of Fuller’s books, proceeds from book sales go to The Fuller Center to build and repair houses for the poor.

Visit www.fullercenter.org/news/beyond-american-dream-first-release for more details.

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