Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America

Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America

Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America

Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America

Synopsis

'Behind the Gates' is an exploration of what life is like inside a gated community and why an increasing number of people are choosing to live there. Based on five years of research, Setha Low presents the stories of 20 families' search for safety and community in a globalizing world.

Excerpt

GROWING UP IN WEST LOS ANGELES

I don't know when I first became intrigued by gates and gated communities. Maybe it began because the only way to get to my childhood home was through two huge pillared arches onto a winding, fern-lined road that leads up and up to the top of the hill. Each twist and turn brings you closer to my house, but every fork in the road is a decision point. A random left or right brings you to another world, a different hill and a separate reality. Some hills are still rustic with crisscrossing fire roads and ranches, others are covered by suburban houses with ivy-carpeted front lawns and welcoming brick walkways, while most are graced by Mediterranean-style mansions where Hollywood movie stars live. My home was a two-story Georgian colonial on Somera Road, the last stop on the school bus-a dead-end street at the crest of a fifteen-hundred-foot rise where the ocean view is breathtaking on a smogless day.

If you turn right rather than left on Bellagio, you end up on Stradella Drive-a neighborhood of wealthy gated estates where my friend Dolly Smith lived. It is there, in front of the wrought-iron gates of Dolly's house that I lost my first friend. I am supposed to get off the

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