The Wizard and the Prophet
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The Wizard and the Prophet : Two Groundbreaking Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet

4.25 (728 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In forty years, the population of the Earth will reach ten billion. Can our world support so many people? What kind of world will it be? In this unique, original and important book, Charles C. Mann illuminates the four great challenges we face - food, water, energy, climate change - through an exploration of the crucial work and wide-ranging influence of two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt.

Vogt (the Prophet) was the intellectual forefather of the environmental movement, and believed that in our using more than the planet has to give, our prosperity will bring us to ruin. Borlaug's research in the 1950s led to the development of modern high-yield crops that have saved millions from starvation. The Wizard of Mann's title, he believed that science will continue to rise to the challenges we face.

Mann tells the stories of these scientists and their crucial influence on today's debates as his story ranges from Mexico to India, across continents and oceans and from the past and the present to the future. Brilliantly original in concept, wryly observant and deeply researched, The Wizard and the Prophet is essential reading for readers of Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens or Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, for anyone interested in how we got here and in the future of our species.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 608 pages
  • 154 x 234 x 35mm | 717g
  • PICADOR
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1509884173
  • 9781509884179
  • 73,701

Review quote

Mann is a compelling and forensic analyst of big tipping points in human affairs. * The Washington Post * A fascinating story of two forgotten men whose ideas changed our understanding of humanity's place in nature . . . Mann offers a sympathetic, nuanced way to understand one of the fundamental debates of our time: How will 10 billion humans live sustainably on Earth, when our demands for energy and food are growing? -- Annalee Newitz * Ars Technica * This unique, encompassing, clarifying, engrossing, inquisitive, and caring work of multifaceted research, synthesis and analysis humanizes the challenges and contradictions of modern environmentalism and and our struggle towards a viable future. * Booklist (starred review) * Masterful . . . Mann's most spectacular accomplishment is to take no sides . . . An insightful, highly significant account that makes no predictions but lays out the critical environmental problems already us. * Kirkus (starred review) * `[Mann's] gift for explaining science shines on every page . . . A stimulating, thoughtful, balanced overview of matters vital to us all. As the world, besieged by ever-more titanic storms and wildfires, threatens to explode into a terrifying new normal, books like this . . . are more necessary than ever. * Boston Globe * Does the earth's finite carrying capacity mean economic growth has to stop? That momentous question is the subject of Charles Mann's brilliant book The Wizard and the Prophet . . . A treasure house of knowledge . . . Indispensable. * Wall Street Journal * Beautifully written . . . fascinating . . . Mann shows us that the arguments about the environment that are raging today have a long and rich history. * Literary Review * Mann's storytelling skills are unmatched - the sprightly tempo with which this book unfolds, each question answered as it comes to mind, makes for pure pleasure reading . . . [Mann] provides detail enough, and simplicity enough, that anyone who is struggling with these puzzles will be enlightened and informed. And entertained, which, given the subject matter, is no small feat. * New York Times *
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About Charles C. Mann

Charles C. Mann, a correspondent for The Atlantic, Science and Wired, has written for Fortune, the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the Washington Post, as well as for HBO and `Law & Order'. A three-time US National Magazine Award finalist and the author of three previous books. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus won the US National Academies Communication Award for the best book of the year, and both that book and its sequel, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, were New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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Rating details

728 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 45% (330)
4 37% (271)
3 15% (109)
2 2% (15)
1 0% (3)
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