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Challenge of Man's Future Hardcover – September, 1984


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Hardcover, September, 1984
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press (September 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813300339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813300337
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,435,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Brown on July 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a good example of the kind of writing more common in times past, where the author assumes the intelligence of his readers along with their interest in the subject and doesn't try to entertain them with humor. Not a page is wasted in assessing the future prospect of mankind as seen from 1954 and Brown is careful to explain his reasoning and how he arrives at his figures at all times. No wonder Albert Einstein endorses the book on the back cover of my paperback edition.

You will be surprised by some of the predictions, the accuracy of some and the inaccuracy of others, but you won't be bored. Each page made me eager to read more. This author is not simply spouting opinions.

The limits on resources are examined comprehensively, not just those most commonly found such as iron ore and coal but even the more unusual ones such as magnesium. The author makes no apology for advocating population control through birth control by looking at man's situation from the standpoint of a biological population that will be controlled by nature if the species does not act to control itself. His estimate of world population for the year 2000 is about a billion less than it has turned out to be. Brown wrote before anyone knew of the possibilities opened up by genetic engineering, so his concerns about the physical degradation of humanity from the failure of natural selection are, I believe, moot, when it looks like genetic problems will at some point be "curable" or eliminated through genetic modification.

Environmental degradation is mentioned but by no means emphasized. In the discussion of food supplies it is suggested that carbon dioxide might be deliberately increased in the atmosphere (to the point of doubling it) in order to increase the growth of plants!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. S. Stuart on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I reread this book 35 years after college. It reveals amazing insight. Brown said in the 50's that we would pretty much go down the tubes when our resources ran out unless citizens of the world act intelligently together. So far, we have ignored his warnings and pursued narrow self-interest with great zeal. Though he did not anticipate the information revolution, he still could be right that a depleted world will one day support only a limited population living an agrarian lifestyle.

(You can read all his conclusions in the last 15 pages)
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Silverman on March 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"We may well be grateful to Brown for this book on the condition of mankind as it appears to an erudite, clear-sighted, critically appraisng scientist...the latest phase of technical-scientific progress, with its fantastic increase of population, has created a situation fraught with problems of hitherto unknown dimensions, this objective work is of high value." Also recommended by Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, this is an early and still highly valuable contribution to "future shock"-type planning and anticipation, hmmm, hum a few bars.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The author assumed we would run out of copper wire long ago. What these kinds of scenarios inevitably forget is the way science and technology change things. Merely consider how many millions of miles of copper wire the the very first Telstar communications satellite rendered unneccessary. We live in a world Harrison Brown could not possibly have foreseen.
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