- Series: Environmental Science and Technology Series
- Paperback: 331 pages
- Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc; 1st edition (June 1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 047165275X
- ISBN-13: 978-0471652755
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Environment, Power, and Society (Environmental Science and Technology Series) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book was written before talking about energy and society was "cool".
Combined with Leslie White's "Evolution of Civilization", which has also been reprinted, it provides the best explanation of modern events that is available.
These two books should be required reading for everyone interested in the future of mankind and the planet earth.
The Evolution of Civilizaton: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome
Howard Odum and his brother Eugene were extraordinarily influential ecologists. As such they tended to see living organisms as interconnected links in systems. Eugene tended to focus on living systems constantly evolving through a series of reasonably predictable “successions” toward a balance and perhaps an ultimate balance of plants and animals - a “climax”. Howard tended to look more closely at the various factors within a larger system and how they interacted.
Howard Odum wrote this book using models of various systems, especially human systems, to explain why human societies were organized in various ways as well as to explain the various subsystems within the larger, more complex systems in which humans function - for better or worse. The book was almost entirely ignored by anthropology and references to it rarely appear in anthropological bibliographies. The book remains a masterpiece of clarity and genius.
I used Odum’s book in various classes and always maintained that all members of congress and the executive branch should be required to read it. That almost certainly none of them did is more obvious today than it was more than 30 some years ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to think about the interrelationships of what often appear to be disparate aspects of humanity. Furthermore Odum provided a way to graphically demonstrate, using systems diagrams, just how such models operate - a technique I use to this day and find a useful tool.