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

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

by Charles Mann

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345802842
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 130,012
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Prologue 3

One Law

1 State of the Species 17

Two Men

2 The Prophet 39

3 The Wizard 95

Four Elements

4 Earth: Food 159

5 Water: Freshwater 216

6 Fire: Energy 251

7 Air: Climate Change 295

Two Men

8 The Prophet 365

9 The Wizard 407

One Future

10 The Edge of the Petri Dish 449

Appendix A Why Believe? (Part One) 463

Appendix B Why Believe? (Part Two) 471

Acknowledgments 475

Abbreviations 479

Notes 481

Works Cited 531

Index 585

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