The Wizard and the Prophet

The Wizard and the Prophet

Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World

Book - 2018
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In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.--AMAZON.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780307961693
Branch Call Number: 363.7009 Man
Characteristics: x, 616 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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LPL_JakeV Feb 26, 2018

In Charles Mann's new book, The Wizard and the Prophet, the author travels 500 years from the global changes wrought by Christopher Columbus, as discussed in his previous books 1491 and 1493, to a fable of "two remarkable scientists and their dueling visions to shape tomorrow's world."

I was immediately reminded of a similar fable from a generation ago, a duel between ecologist Paul Ehrlich and "cornucopian" Julian Simon. Mann's update pits an ecologist, William Vogt, against a plant breeder, Norman Borlaug. It's a forefather of the Greens vs. the father of the Green Revolution, and it makes for fascinating and important reading.


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