Robert W. Fuller earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he coauthored the classic text Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. The mounting social unrest of the 1960s drew his attention to educational reform, and at the age of thirty-three he was appointed president of Oberlin College, his alma mater.
In 1971 Fuller traveled to India as a consultant to Indira Gandhi, and there witnessed firsthand the famine resulting from the war with Pakistan over what became Bangladesh. With the election of Jimmy Carter, Fuller began a campaign to persuade the new president to end world hunger. His meeting with Carter in the Oval Office in June 1977 contributed to the establishment of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger.
During the 1980s Fuller traveled frequently to the USSR, working as a citizen-scientist to improve the cold war relationship. His work, together with that of others, led to the creation of the nonprofit global corporation Internews, which promotes democracy via free and independent media. For many years Fuller served as its chairman.
When the USSR collapsed, Fuller’s work as a citizen-diplomat came to a close and he looked back reflectively on his career. He came to see that he had been, at different junctures in his life, both a somebody and a nobody. Contemplating his periodic sojourns into “Nobodyland” led him to identify and probe rankism—defined by him as abuse of the power inherent in rank—and ultimately to write Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank (New Society Publishers, 2003). Growing popular interest in this subject led him to write the present sequel.