The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

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From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow''s world.

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.

Review

“Scrupulous, stimulating, and elegant . . . A beautifully crafted book. Anyone wanting a readable, relentlessly intelligent narrative showing where our environmental ideas and anxieties in the present-day Anglophone world come from will find it here in abundance.” —Robert J. Mayhew, Times Literary Supplement

“Brilliant . . . The author’s science journalism shines.” —William Easterly,  The Wall Street Journal

“An elegantly written, devoted testimonial to the art of the possible.” —Jonathan Hahn, Sierra
 
“Mann’s storytelling skills are unmatched. . . . The great virtue of Mann’s book—and much of his journalism over many years—is that it raises very large questions . . . that are usually either ignored or answered in slogans. He 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.” —Bill McKibben, The New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating . . . An inquisitive and gifted science writer.” —Tyler Priest,  Science

“The most persuasive writers on the environment punctuate their big-picture theses with telling details that bring the relevant issues to life. Like Elizabeth Kolbert and Tim Flannery, Charles C. Mann is one of the masters of this art . . . a stimulating, thoughtful, balanced overview of matters vital to us all.” —Dan Cryer, The Boston Globe

“Mann is a compelling and forensic analyst of big tipping points in human affairs.” —Fred Pearce, The Washington Post

"Charles C. Mann specializes in deep, comprehensive looks at the past that better elucidate the present." —Mary Ellen Hannibal, San Francisco Chronicle

“Best-selling author and journalist Mann tackles the thorny problem of humankind’s future through the lens of two 20th-century visionaries. . . . A sweeping, provocative work of journalism, history, science and philosophy.” — Library Journal starred review

“Without taking sides, Mann delivers a fine examination of two possible paths to a livable future.” — Publisher’s Weekly starred review

“An insightful, highly significant account that makes no predictions but lays out the critical environmental problems already upon us.”— Kirkus starred review

"The contrast is stark—technological wizardry or romantic prophecy as a lens to view the future path for the planet and humanity. Charles Mann provides a deeply corrugated, richly nuanced, and highly entertaining narrative to make sense of the most consequential decisions facing civilization. Read, think, and enjoy." —Ruth deFries, author of The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

 “Brilliantly conceived and executed, Charles Mann’s  The Wizard and the Prophet is the book I have long awaited—thoughtful, balanced and unbiased—to understand the  challenges that humanity will face as the twenty-first century progresses. Mann’s historical perspective provides the critically important context for us to understand how we got here and how we might solve the problems presented by a finite world of ten billion humans.” –Gary Taubes, author of The Case Against Sugar 

The Wizard and the Prophet is a fascinating portrait of two men who probably shaped your thinking about the future, whether you realize it or not. Charles Mann proves, once again, a masterful storyteller." – Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

“A rich, elegant, ferociously readable study of our global quandary. Among the many excellent things Charles C. Mann does in The Wizard and the Prophet is give us a fresh, and wholly unexpected, way of understanding today’s political divide.” —Russell Shorto, author of Revolution Song

“A fascinating story of two forgotten men whose ideas changed our understanding of humanity’s place in nature.  The Wizard and the Prophet is an intellectual history of the clash between techno-optimists and environmentalists, but it’s also the very personal story of two thinkers, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt. 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? This book showcases an important new kind of futurism, which looks to the past to understand how we''ll survive. Never preachy nor dogmatic, Mann asks his readers to do the most difficult thing possible: choose a path to a better world, by consulting your own conscience.” —Annalee Newitz, editor,  Ars Technica

About the Author

CHARLES C. MANN, a correspondent for The Atlantic, Science, and Wired, has also written for Fortune, The New York Times, Smithsonian, Technology Review, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, as well as the TV network HBO and the series Law & Order. A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, he is the recipient of writing awards from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Lannan Foundation.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
346 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

DaveF
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book for our time - highly recommended!
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2018
For me, Charles Mann has another home run with ''The Wizard and the Profit'', 5+ stars! Mann is also the author of (among other books) ''1491'' and ''1493'', extraordinary nonfiction/history works. He is on my short list of very fine historians/nonfiction authors. In this... See more
For me, Charles Mann has another home run with ''The Wizard and the Profit'', 5+ stars! Mann is also the author of (among other books) ''1491'' and ''1493'', extraordinary nonfiction/history works. He is on my short list of very fine historians/nonfiction authors.
In this book, Mann tells the story of the lives and works of two largely forgotten but extremely influential mid-twentieth century scientists. In 1948, William Vogt (the ''Phophet'') wrote ''Road to Survival''. A hugely influential book, it foresaw the planet''s and man''s doom if we continued to populate (over-populate) the earth and ravage its resources unchecked. He espoused among other things population control and severe conservation. Norman Borlaug (the ''Wizard'') won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 as the father of the "Green Revolution". Borlaug saw hunger and he tried to overcome it through plant breeding and science. Essentially, the two men perceived the same problem (the land''s human carrying capacity was being exceeded) and attempted to solve it in opposite directions.
Charles Mann uses the story of these two passionate, brilliant, and hard-working men to address our dilemma as a species and inhabiters of earth. We will approach 10 billion strong in this century. Are we headed for catastrophe or are we capable of solving approaching major problems (hunger, climate change, resource depletion, etc.)? This is a wonderfully written, even-handed, thoughtful, calm examination of our most important questions.
Highly recommended!
54 people found this helpful
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William Davis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... well aware of and of all of them I''d recommend this book above others
Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2018
Over the years I''ve read many books on Climate so it''s a topic I''m well aware of and of all of them I''d recommend this book above others. If your seeking a non partisan, non ideological understanding of the future ahead of us (and how we''ll feed 10 billion people) this book... See more
Over the years I''ve read many books on Climate so it''s a topic I''m well aware of and of all of them I''d recommend this book above others. If your seeking a non partisan, non ideological understanding of the future ahead of us (and how we''ll feed 10 billion people) this book will provide it giving history and science (it won''t slow you down) from two perspectives from big solutions (Wizards) to fitting within biological limits (Prophets). It helps that the author is such a good writer and I wouldn''t be surprised to see this book win multiple awards. I originally checked this book out from the library and later decided I needed it on my bookshelf.
35 people found this helpful
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Yehezkel Dror
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
GOOD SCIENCE, GOOD STORY
Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2019
This is an outstanding book. It presents two outstanding scientists as two ‘ideal types’, in the sense of Max Weber, one a true believer in science and technology fixes (Norman Borlaug) and the second (William Vogt) exhorting humanity to be very careful not to disrupt... See more
This is an outstanding book. It presents two outstanding scientists as two ‘ideal types’, in the sense of Max Weber, one a true believer in science and technology fixes (Norman Borlaug) and the second (William Vogt) exhorting humanity to be very careful not to disrupt nature.

Also presented, though not central to the text, is an important evolution researcher (Lynn Margulis), who was of the opinion that the human species is bound by evolution and sure to disappear, never mind what it does.

Still, the following questions arise:

One. Vogt is not a prophet, most of whom promised salvation after deserved suffering. Rather he is a Cassandra, who was cursed to know the future but not to be believed.

Two. The Wizard was careful. He did not engage in dangerous science, though he might have failed in his efforts to overcome the Malthusian loop. It is not clear at all whether he would support risky geoengineering.

Three. The book present very well two contrasting ideologies. Thus, it sharpens the question who shall decide on which one to base action. But it does not pose this critical question as needed.

These and other comments do not impair the quality of the book, which should be pondered by all who are concerned, or should be concerned, about the future of humanity, starting with political leaders.

Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
11 people found this helpful
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Jerry A. Moles
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing book and evenhandedly explores the paths either thought technological ...
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
Amazing book and evenhandedly explores the paths either though technological domination of the future or sensitivity to the living Earth. While there are no final answers proposed, the complexity of the future is presented. A great deal of research went into developing... See more
Amazing book and evenhandedly explores the paths either though technological domination of the future or sensitivity to the living Earth. While there are no final answers proposed, the complexity of the future is presented. A great deal of research went into developing this book and, in my opinion, should be required reading for every undergraduate and many beyond the universities. We''re in the Anthropocene and must take seriously the challenges of the present and in the immediate future and this book is a place to start on the journey. Simplemindedness is the enemy and Mann helps appreciate the complexity of Life on Earth.
12 people found this helpful
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eclectic reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A thoughtful book raising the question of whether humans will be able to avoid Extinction
Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2019
It has been the gate of most species to become extinct. Extinction is often caused by overgrowing the niche the species fits into. Humanity faces many impending challenges the author discusses, including shortages of water and climate change. He points to some hopeful... See more
It has been the gate of most species to become extinct. Extinction is often caused by overgrowing the niche the species fits into. Humanity faces many impending challenges the author discusses, including shortages of water and climate change. He points to some hopeful events in our history: the abolition of slavery; increasing equal rights for women; and the declining risk of violent death as being reasons to be hopeful about the human capacity to change. He also asked if the impact of climate change will be blunted giving us more chance to persist.
I am left feeling he believes neither technology - the wish solution, or self restraint, the prophets solution can alone save us. My father when in his nineties used to say he didn''t hold a lot of hope for the future of the human race. I am more optimistic and attributed his negativity to old age and it''s associated failings.
Nonetheless as has been said before: "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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Mex-Tex
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent read: very balanced view of what challenges the future holds for our children
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2018
Charles Mann achieves a very balanced view of what challenges the future holds for our children with respect to our food supply (agriculture), our water, our energy supply and sources, and the global climate with its potential changes. He does this by presenting both... See more
Charles Mann achieves a very balanced view of what challenges the future holds for our children with respect to our food supply (agriculture), our water, our energy supply and sources, and the global climate with its potential changes. He does this by presenting both points of view in the person of a Wizard (Borlaug) and a Prophet (Vogt) with their life stories and how they viewed each of these 4 areas. And then he intertwines lots of History (think his 1491 and 1493 books) with the science needed for all these 4 areas (think his writing about Physics and Aspirin Wars). So in reading this book, you become a lot more knowledgeable about both sides of these debates. And this is exactly the authors intent (no matter which opinions you hold). The book was worthwhile for me because I can now take better future decisions for our children and grandchildren. In addition, the book is quite a page-turner.
2 people found this helpful
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Wm. P.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Remarkable tour de force of history
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2019
Charles Mann''s book is nothing short of a brilliant, comprehensive tour de force of the global social, cultural, economic, philosophical and scientific history of the rise of the debates within the concepts of natural/human ecology and the green revolution as purveyed... See more
Charles Mann''s book is nothing short of a brilliant, comprehensive tour de force of the global social, cultural, economic, philosophical and scientific history of the rise of the debates within the concepts of natural/human ecology and the green revolution as purveyed through the eyes of two of the most prominent characters responsible for the growth of the fields : Nobel prize winning plant geneticist Norman Borlaug (The Wizard) and ecologist William Vogt (The Prophet). Mann''s research is impeccable and references well documented in the story that he weaves as he temporally interweaves the growth of the movements that have shaped our modern world and current debates through the remarkable wellspring of global interdisciplinary occurrences that shaped the 20th century. As examples, he cites the explosion of crop growth created by the recognition of nitrogen in bird poop as a potent nutrient for fertilizer and then again with the invention of the ability to artificially fix nitrogen to add to resource poor commercially produced fertilizer decades later. The remarkable tedium and resilience of Borlaug in his belief and development of seed hybridization to meet the agricultural needs of varying climates throughout the Americas. The implications for hybridization with the discovery of the C4 photosynthesis mechanism. The dark twists and turns of Vogt''s preaching for the necessity of conservation of resources for the species survival in the wake of the rise of Darwinism and by extension social Darwinism, and Vogt''s association with the movement. I picked up the book when it was first released in February and given the density of some of the concepts, took my time and finished reading in a month. Undoubtedly, I''ll be revisiting it again ... and again as the debate continues to evolve in the 21st century. There is a sense of urgency with this topic but the fundamental question in addressing today''s issues regarding climate, food, water and environment remains .... Can humankind shape it''s environment and future or is it necessary that we adapt to the natural world we have been placed in ??
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Jon Anda
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Will science again be revered? This beautifully written story gives me hope.
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2018
If you love Harari, McKibben, Smil, Kolbert, Safina, and similar writers - definitely read Wizards and Prophets. Like those greats, but even more so, Mann weaves the science and history into a fascinating story of the people who led society to the choices we now face.... See more
If you love Harari, McKibben, Smil, Kolbert, Safina, and similar writers - definitely read Wizards and Prophets. Like those greats, but even more so, Mann weaves the science and history into a fascinating story of the people who led society to the choices we now face. Being a baby boomer (non-scientist), reading this book made me a bit embarrassed about what I didn''t know about 60''s and 70''s life sciences - but thrilled to be catching up with this can''t-put-it-down narrative. Highly Recommended.
17 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Avid reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 19, 2019
That’s an amazing book. The author has an incredible story telling ability. The book is dense, but reads like a novel. The level of investigation on the parts involved is incredible. And to top it all, a very contemporary discussion with arguments that provide both sides...See more
That’s an amazing book. The author has an incredible story telling ability. The book is dense, but reads like a novel. The level of investigation on the parts involved is incredible. And to top it all, a very contemporary discussion with arguments that provide both sides with insights and considerations.
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Amy Thomas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Everyone should read this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 12, 2019
Excellent read and well researched. The author unpacks what the future could look like in a world of 10 billion people.
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Rajiv M. Gupta
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Valuable information very lucidly presented
Reviewed in India on March 18, 2019
The book is a great piece of work, putting together four of the most important things that we should be concerned with, as we look to the future of our species on this planet, i.e., food, water, energy, and the environment. The two divergent approaches to each of these four...See more
The book is a great piece of work, putting together four of the most important things that we should be concerned with, as we look to the future of our species on this planet, i.e., food, water, energy, and the environment. The two divergent approaches to each of these four areas are presented about as objectively as I think is possible, without taking sides. There are certainly arguments for both the Wizards'' as well as the Prophets'' perspectives. It is important that people have a clear understanding of the issues involved and not form half-baked opinions. Towards that end this book does a great service, as it it lucidly brings out the most complex scientific arguments and concerns and presents them in layman terms. I have finished reading about 350 pages and hope to complete the rest of the book in the next few days.I am sure I will reread the book several times and keep it as a handy reference.
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Tom
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fun, Informative, Mind-changing
Reviewed in Australia on June 18, 2019
I have hardly read a more thrilling, well-written and informative book than this. I thought I had been thinking plenty hard about the issues Mann writes about in this book, but it turns out I hadn''t. I learnt a huge amount from this book, and experienced quite a number of...See more
I have hardly read a more thrilling, well-written and informative book than this. I thought I had been thinking plenty hard about the issues Mann writes about in this book, but it turns out I hadn''t. I learnt a huge amount from this book, and experienced quite a number of revelations and perspective-shifts. Without sounding overly intense, reading this book even helped give me insight into my own psychology... I think it might do so for many people... On a more basic level, my understanding of a whole number of ecological and environmental issues and episodes is much richer and deeper because of the insights and information in this book. Ok, sure, at times late in the book I think Mann is way overzealous in applying his eponymous dichotomy to specific people and ideas. But heck you can''t have everything. What a great book... Read it!
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Gerry
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Open your mind to multiple views
Reviewed in Canada on November 14, 2019
The book made it hard for me to think one position was more superior than the other. Very thought provoking if one starts with an open mind that is not necessarily a blank sheer.
3 people found this helpful
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The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists 2021 and Their Dueling Visions to sale Shape Tomorrow's World outlet online sale