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Green Delusions: An Environmentalist Critique of Radical Environmentalism Paperback – March 14, 1994

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (March 14, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822314746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822314745
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,367,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Eco-extremists threaten the environment, Lewis argues, by fueling the anti-environmental countermovement. A professor of geography at George Washington University, he analyzes and sharply criticizes radical environmentalism, charging that it is founded on erroneous ideas fabricated from questionable scholarship and that its proponents ignore history and willfully dismiss economics. He profiles the principal groups of radical greens, pointing out the weaknesses and dangers of their agendas. A liberal moderate, Lewis advocates a Promethean rather than Arcadian approach to environmentalism; he would rely on technology, urbanizaton and Third World development to restore and protect the planet. Such primary problems as population growth and poverty, he argues, cannot be solved by poltical extremism. lewis makes a strong case for solar power and a globally integrated economy in this controversial book, which is likely to stir up a hornet's nest of debate.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Written by a self-confessed ex-radical now espousing an eclectic "Promethean" environmentalism that embraces, among other enviromental bugaboos, capitalism, large-scale government, advanced technology, and big cities, Green Delusions aims to "distinguish the five main variants of eco-extremism . . . to expose the fallacies on which such views ultimately founder, and to demonstrate that the policies advocated . . . would, if enacted, result in unequivocal ecological catastrophe." The author generally hits his target cleanly and forcefully, making the book essential for environmental collections. Its clarity, detail, and solid documentation could also make it a surprise success in general circulation. Though clearly addressed to the academic and environmental communities, it could, given a little attention, gain a sizable audience among those ordinary citizens who find themselves increasingly disquieted by the extremism that currently dominates environmental discourse.
- Linn Prentis, Milford, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Martin W. Lewis is a senior lecturer in the Department of History at Stanford University, where he teaches global historical and regional geography, contemporary geopolitics, and the history of Southeast Asia. He received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1979, and a PhD in geography from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987. His recent research focuses on the history of geographical ideas, especially those pertaining to the division of the world. His avocations include travel, gardening, and fiction writing. He lives near Palo Alto, California, with his wife, Karen Wigen (professor of Japanese history at Stanford University), his son, Evan Lewis, and his daughter, Eleanor Lewis. For more information, see: http://www.stanford.edu/~mwlewis/

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Extremely well researched and informative book detailing the case against radical environmentalism and its belief that our only future is to revert to small communities, abandon any form of capitalism and revert to tribal-like simplicity on a global scale. These ideas are prevalent throughout the ecological movement and throughout "green" political parties. The author argues that these ideas, apart from failing to appeal at all to "the mainstream", if enacted would actually lead to global environmental catastrophy. A very down-to-earth but extremely wide ranging book giving a positive vision to those searching for a practical vision to cope with both local and global environmental problems. Written by a respected geographer, it ranges from tribal agriculture to critique of Reagan freemarket economics in its efforts to show that the way forward is by working practically with and bringing changes within, the existing capitalistic system rather than the utopian ideals of returns to pre-modern era, rural communities. A real vision for the future by someone who used to argue those very utopian visions and now is absolute in our need for realistic "now" solutions. An absolute must especially for those involved in environmental politics or academia.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on October 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Green Delusions" is a critique of radical environmentalism, written by a recovering eco-radical, Martin W. Lewis. He calls his own brand of more moderate environmentalism "Promethean". Lewis wants to save nature by de-coupling humanity from it as much as possible, something that can only be done through advanced technology.

Lewis doesn't deny that some "primitive" cultures were egalitarian, peaceful and eco-friendly. Unfortunately, many other such cultures were hierarchic, war-prone and destructive. There simply isn't any necessary connection between "going native" and being eco-friendly, as claimed by many eco-radicals. Even some animals, such as elephants, have a surprisingly large impact on their environment, and the same is true of Stone Age humans. The mass extinction of the so-called megafauna (mammoths, mastodonts, etc) was probably caused by Stone Age hunters. Slash-and-burn agriculture isn't as "sustainable" as previously assumed, etc. If the present world population would abolish high technology, the end result would - ironically - be more environmental destruction. Just imagine all 250 million Americans spreading out across the continent, each operating an Amish-like farm of his/her own, burning wood for fuel, etc. The only way to stop this would be a truly *massive* die-off of perhaps 99% of the human population, a perspective difficult not to dub as misanthropic.

The author also points out that humans before the advent of the modern age had a lower life expectancy, higher child mortality, were plagued by epidemics (some of them bizarre), etc. On a more funny note, he also points out that many hippies who "went back to the land" during the 1970's ended up killing animals who otherwise would have destroyed their crops!
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5 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Daniel on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Martin W. Lewis sets out in his book "Green Delusions" to give an overall critique to the radical environmental movement, but his critique totally misses the target. The book was published in 1992 and feels out dated and irrelevant. So much have changed in the world and so has the environmental movement. "Green Delusions" seems far left behind in its arguements and view upon the world. Critique is always necessary when dealing with any question, especially environmental issues, but "Green Delusions" is with no doubt NOT the book to buy, if you're looking for good critique.
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