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More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want Hardcover – May 8, 2008

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1597260190 ISBN-10: 1597260193 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Population growth is emerging from its contentious history as a hot new topic. For anyone who wants to understand what's at stake, Robert Engelman's dazzling new book is essential reading. The writing is engaging, the material fascinating, and the topic vital. More is marvellous!"
(Juliet Schor Professor of Sociology, Boston College and author of Born to Buy)

"An astute and lively rumination that examines both the past and future of our planet. Robert Engelman's More is as thoughtful as it is thought-provoking."
(Rick Atkinson Pulitzer Prize-winning author of An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle)

"Full of surprises, More is a fresh reminder to pay attention to the too-often hidden crux of our environmental crisis: the unsustainable rate of human population growth."
(Katherine Ellison author of The Mommy Brain and coauthor of The New Economy of Nature)

"This provocative, well-reasoned, and eminently readable book deserves a wide audience. The connections Engelman draws between opportunity for women and sustainable population are at once commonsensical and inspired."
(Joel E. Cohen Mauzé Professor of Populations, author of How Many People Can Support the Earth?)

"With engaging prose, Engelman takes readers on a delightful journey—that both entertains and educates – of modern civilization and women's central role to ensuring the economic and social well-being of their families, communities, nations and the global community."
(Geeta Rao Gupta President, International Center for Research on Women)

"More offers an astute and compassionate look at the complex topic through the fresh lens of women's rights and their role in population control."
(Plenty Magazine)

"Engelman...passionately argues that the best way to stem this growth is to empower women to control their own reproduction, yielding the smaller, more stable families they usually desire."
(SEED Magazine)

"Clear and accessible . . . engagingly written . . ."
(Population and Development Review)

"Robert Engelman has published his first and long anticipated book, More... It's a treasure trove of anthropological anecdotes for us who work to stabilize population through voluntary measures."
(The Reporter (Population Connection))

"Journalist Engelman brings a discerning eye to the literature on population trends, environmental sustainability, and women's efforts to control their reproductive lives."

"…convincingly champions women's reproductive rights the world over."

"More gives us a well-researched overview of fertility and women's desire to control it, delivering an entertaining array of theories and scientific findings from historical, sociological, anthropological, and cultural perspectives....He strikes a great balance of academia, wit, and humor..."
(Earth Island Journal)

"How do women's reproductive choices affect global population and environmental health? Despite his provocative subtitle, Engelman answers this question with humility, humor, and great deal of research."
(Alternatives Journal)

"Useful and illuminating."
(The Washington Post)

About the Author

Robert Engelman is Vice President for Programs at the Worldwatch Institute. Formerly Vice President for Research at Population Action International and Founding Secretary of the Society of Environmental Journalists, he has served on the faculty of Yale University. His writing has appeared in Nature, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (May 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597260193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597260190
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Walker on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It seems inevitable that the world food crisis, combined with climate change and rising energy prices, will spur a renewed and contentious debate over the issue of population. Before that debate is renewed in its full intensity, everyone should read this book.

What the author gives us, and what is so desperately need at this critical juncture in the debate over population, is historical perspective. His book, in fact, takes up back to our ancestral roots to give us a better understanding of such things as human reproduction, the centuries' old debate over population, and efforts by governments to "control" population by encouraging human procreation or restricting it.

Many people today believe that birth control is a thoroughly modern invention, but as Engelman observes in his book, women throughout history have sought to control their fertility, as well as enhance it. In response to shrinking resources or deteriorating conditions, women have often sought--though not always successfully--to space or limit their pregnancies.

Engelman takes what he calls a "Zen' approach to population. He argues that the best way to "control" population is to give up control, by giving women the power to decide for themselves when to bear a child.

He notes that many women in the world still lack access to modern contraceptive methods and that, if given that access, fertility rates will likely decline further. Giving girls the education they need and the equality they deserve, he argues, would also result in lower fertility rates.

At the same time, he voices the conviction that concerns about an eventual population implosion are overblown.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marian Starkey on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a book about population and family planning that those of us who work on population issues can distribute proudly to those who aren't in the field!

Engelman outlines the history of women managing their fertility through the ages, from our humble beginnings as homo erectus through modern day. Throughout human history some women have prevented conception with herbs and pessaries. And some women have always backed up these methods with abortion and infanticide.

His point is that women's desire to have small families is not new and that modern contraception should be available to any woman who wants it, in order to avoid the crude methods that our ancestors were stuck with.

Engelman writes about women with great respect and humorously describes why men and women so often differ on their ideas about ideal childbearing (both timing and total number). In fact, humor is an integral part of this book. Engelman was a journalist in a past life and his catchy, accessible writing style shines through on every page.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about demography, women's reproductive rights, and/or anthropology. This book should interest just about anyone and is not the dry, academic sort of textbook that you might expect of this topic. I'm even going to propose it as a selection for my monthly book club!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LAS on June 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Probably the most important book I have read this year. His solution to overpopulation is rather simple and only really involves giving women their basic human rights. The solution basically boils down to simply giving women power over their own bodies, and the right to choose what is best for themselves. What the author shows the reader is that when women are allowed to control their own reproduction then they make choices that are not only best for themselves, but also what is best for their families and in the end for their communities as well. This makes the author's position very easy to defend because even if you don't believe the world suffers from overpopulation it doesn't matter because the author is saying that women should decide what is right for themselves. If you don't agree with his basic premise it is still very hard to try and assail his solution.

The author does an excellent job detailing the history of sex as well. The author puts forward a lot of ideas that at the very least will make the reader think. His discussion on the history of birth control was fascinating. I did not realize that so much had come before modern methods. What this history shows in the end is the importance of giving women (and men) options.

Whether you agree with the author or not, his book is a very interesting and entertaining read. While a lot of it is heavy lifting, the author adds some comical asides every now and then to lighten the load. I think this is a very important read. The history is fascinating and the author's own experience adds a tremendous amount of perspective to this very important topic. You need to read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joy on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Any man who writes a book with "what women want" in the title opens himself to mockery, but Engelman's conclusion is close enough to the Wife of Bath's that he can almost be forgiven it.

Taking a Malthusian view of population increase, Engelman notes that the "natural" curbs on population growth outpacing sustainability are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Famine, War, and Pestilence (Death, as Engelman notes, is just the body-collector for the other 3). However, Engelman sees a better way: given access to a complete portfolio of family planning services, women (on average) tend to choose a sustainable population level. Not men. No doubt this is because typical women's reproductive agendas (fewer children, higher level of investment) is more adapted to a crowded planet than the typical man's. However it is a more empowering philosophy than trying to force population control through government.

Included in this book is a history of demographics, a history of family planning, and Engelman's interesting reading of some Biblical stories through the eyes of his own concerns. And the interesting fact that George H.W. Bush used to be such a proponent of family planning that he got the nickname "Rubbers" before he sold out to the Reaganites.
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