Welcome to Free America (lulu.com) is a fictional how-to guide for immigrants to the shores of wild America in 2057. The collapse of the once-United States, as depicted by economist David Barker, begins in a way that will be all too recognizable to contemporary Americans: People want ever more extravagant government services but no new taxes. 

The currency tanks, a few states revolt, and the federal government cracks down—but too late. From the chaos emerge private providers of roads and police services, then countless experiments in diverse modes of local governance. This fantasy world is not so much purely libertarian as purely decentralized; there are towns that divide themselves on racial or religious lines and even a private-property-free “Debsville.” 

The (deliberately) lowercase united states of America believably reflects the variation of human reactions to the absence of a central authority. Neither utopian nor dystopian, Barker’s America is appealing and frightening at the same time.—Lucy Steigerwald