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Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism (New Atlantis Books) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: New Atlantis Books
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594034761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594034763
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The book is replete with scientific studies and facts, though it’s Zubrin’s view on the people and history behind antihumanist movements that’s the most disturbing. Whether pointing out that the first Green Party was founded under the leadership of August Haussleiter, a former Nazi SS officer; that Fujimori’s genocide in Peru was funded by international aid; or that Qian Xinzhong was given the first United Nations Population Award (together with Indira Gandhi) after forcing thousands of Chinese women to abort their children, Zubrin paints a dark and disturbing picture of antihumanism that’s worth everyone’s time to read." —Publishers Weekly

“Robert Zubrin’s masterful study…makes for riveting reading. Merchants of Despair is a cautionary tale of what happens when powerful, unprincipled elites are not only alienated from the mass of their fellow men, but come to see them as a barrier to imagined social, evolutionary, or environmental progress.” —Steven W. Mosher, President, Population Research Institute

Merchants of Despair is an extraordinary and important book….This fascinating volume carefully traces developments of the Malthusian hypothesis right up to the present: through eugenics to population control and genocide; through the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth and extreme environmentalism to climate change and the myth of global warming apocalypse. Robert Zubrin has my nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.” —S. Fred Singer, Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project, Author of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years

“I believe no one to date has so clearly explained the thread of the antihuman movement throughout history. To read this book is to become a warrior in the battle against it.” —Jay Lehr, Heartland Institute

“The most devastating account and refutation of antihuman environmentalism ever written.” —Gregory Benford, Author of Chiller

About the Author

Robert Zubrin is the author of several highly successful books, including Energy Victory, a powerful and hugely popular work on achieving energy independence, and The Case for Mars, a 100,000-copy bestseller on space exploration and the human future. He frequently writes, lectures, and gives radio and TV interviews on a wide range of policy questions as a fellow of the Center for Security Policy, the president of the Mars Society, and a contributing editor to The New Atlantis. A scientist and engineer by training, with advanced degrees in aeronautics and astronautics and nuclear engineering, he has nine U.S. patents granted or pending.

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Customer Reviews

A very well written and documented book.
It will simply gob-smack those who believe that no such line exists as they find themselves rapidly sharing the company of some of history's most loathsome figures.
Warren Fahy
Zubrin's book does provide a solid argument for his theory.
William A. Howes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 90 people found the following review helpful By William L. Brown VINE VOICE on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Zubrin has produced a carefully documented analysis of the people who, from positions of power, have developed the art of using fear as a means for controlling whole populations and maximizing their power over the direction of government policies. The result has been, instead of a utopian Garden of Eden as promised, the destruction of hundreds of millions of human lives and the throttling of progress in disease control and human economic improvement.

Armed with mathematical models and supported by politicians, popular authors and a gullible media network, these "nattering nabobs of negativism" (to borrow a phrase from Spiro Agnew) convinced themselves in the 1970s that overpopulation would soon overwhelm the world's natural resources and lead to mass deprivation and starvation. Today, they claim that Climate Change will cause the Earth to overheat, leading to a crisis of epic proportions. As a result of these beliefs, they view death and destruction of populations as a positive good, since it will reduce the number of mouths to feed and reduce our ultimate "carbon footprint."

[I realize that this sounds extreme, but Zubrin produces documented evidence showing that such positions have actually been supported by presumably expert scientific leaders over the past few decades.]

Zubrin shows how persons with limited scientific credentials have taken over positions of leadership in the administrations of US presidents as well as in the halls of the United Nations. A classic example is John Holdren who, as a neo-Malthusian "science advisor" with no real scientific experience, has exercised considerable power in the United States as well as worldwide via the United Nations.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By James F. Mcenanly on April 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been following Dr. Zubrin's work since the early 1990's. Usually his writings deal with the exploration and of the Planet Mars, such as The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must. In this book, he takes on what he considers to be an enemy of Mankind, an enemy that , with intellect cold and vast and unsympathetic, looks to be the master of all who live. They go by many names, but Dr. Zubrin refers to them as Malthusians, after Thomas Malthus, who, on his Essay on the Principle of Population, noted that while food supplies increase arithmetically, population grows exponentially. to this end, Malthus and his followers have proposed increasingly drastic methods to control populations, and also human activity and thought.
This book lays out the history of the movement in frightening detail. To these people, all men are not created equal, but rather some are born to be masters and the rest cattle. To them, human ingenuity, which increases our quality of living, is an unaffordable luxury."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jerome C. Boyer on May 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first reading of a book from Dr. Zubrin.

I purchased this book based on a recent review in Skeptics e-magazine. Being a skeptic, I thought I could add to my skeptical knowledge by reading the book. But anyone will benefit from reading it.

I titled my short review based on the current controversy that in the global warming church, science is settled. Dr. Zubrin succeeds in fifteen chapters to have the reader mad, sad and distressed on how the Al Gore of this world are ready to condemn a fair chunk of human beings to death on the pretense of saving the planet.

The book is organized following a time line since Malthus in early 19th century, showing first how small groups of well intentioned intellectuals lead to the murdering of millions of Slavs and Jews based on the need to keep the better races intact, and save the planet from over population. Then, analyzing the current and the now completely disproved analysis of Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome (1972 Limits to Growth), Dr. Zubrin illustrates how the genius of man led to a doubling of the world population who is far better fed now than it was when the Club of Rome's intellectuals claimed we would be all dead by year 2000.

The book vividly describes how the boundless creativity of the human race has improved the lot of everyone on this planet, notwithstanding the naysayers who now claim that because of global warming (the science is settled) we all must stop economic growth, allow millions to starve and return the earth to its original state.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craig Burton on September 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am almost finished reading this book. It explains how antihumanism (being against humans) is growing very rapidly in western culture.He names names and goes into detailed history of population controllers, nuclear haters and even the Nazi excuses of getting back to nature by clearing out the human trash. Modern examples cited, with chapter and verse, are Paul Ehrlich, Paul Krugman, Al Gore, Mr. Obama's science czar (John Holdren), and more.

Zubrin lays much of the blame for this misanthropism, which he prefers to label antihumanism, at the feet of the Church of England clergyman Rev. Malthus. Zubrin's arguments are cogent and because he chooses not to explore the pathological, or religious question (the why of it all?) he will get a wide reading. Indeed Zubrin does seem to allude to the religious issues behind environmentalism, but generally steers clear. Those interested in deep exploration of the religious question of why, and why so hot and heavy now would be well advised to read "Resisting the Green Dragon" by physicist James Wanliss. This quickly covers the same ground as Zubrin but is more interested in the more painful and searching question "Why?"
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