Living the Good Life: How to Live Sanely & Simply in a Troubled World is a must read. We (my husband Bill and I) read it in the 70's and it greatly influenced our lives. Even though the book was written in 1954, it still has as much impact and significance today as it did back then.
Living the Good Life, as well as many of the writings of Helen and Scott Nearing, was an inspiration for us to seek out a "simpler" life away from the congestion of the city. In order to get "back-to-the-land" we purchased almost 25 acres in McKean County, Pennsylvania, in the early 80's, built a passive solar, energy efficient house, established an organic garden / composting system and eventually became vegetarians. We are still at it in 2010!
The Nearings believed that you should do the best you can where you are...there is no place left to run. "Human beings, under any set of circumstances, can behave well or badly. Whatever the circumstances, it is better to love, create and construct than to hate, undermine and destroy..." These are powerful words to live by.