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One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World? Paperback – October 16, 2012

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801478024 ISBN-10: 0801478022 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The existence of one billion hungry people, despite sufficient production to meet contemporary consumption needs, is a stark (and shameful) reminder of the complexity of these issues, and of the inadequacy of current thinking. Conway's text lays out, in careful detail, the many dimensions that need to be considered in trying to answer these questions, and starts to provide a future vision for a food-secure world that is both equitable and environmentally sustainable. This is a masterful survey of the landscape, and is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand these issues, and to engage in informed discussion about alternative options for global food security."—Bhaskar Vira, International Affairs (May 2013)



"The author is notably, and refreshingly, open to any approach that solves world hunger as long as it meets site-specific needs, particularly at the farm scale. He appreciates the multidisciplinary nature of addressing world hunger, painting his topics in broad strokes—not superficially, but appropriately scaled so that average readers can understand trends and concepts outside their own discipline or experience. From a classroom perspective the individual chapters provide a superb launch point for more in-depth discussion. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—M.S. Coyne, Choice (July 2013)



"In 350 information-packed pages, Conway systematically builds an answer to the book's title question. His answer is 'a qualified yes'.... This is the first 21st Century manual on how to feed the world. There may not be time to wait for another edition, so I recommend reading it now."—Jeff Waage, Food Security (April 2013)



"In One Billion Hungry, Gordon Conway lays out the formidable challenges we face in feeding the world by 2050 and reminds us why we have reason to be optimistic. History shows that we can reduce hunger and poverty, but to make a lasting difference we will need to help smallholder farmers sustainably increase their productivity."—Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



"We will not have a fair and secure world until we overcome the global challenge of feeding our ever-increasing population. Gordon Conway's insightful book addresses the complex issues of achieving global food and nutrition security."—Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1996–2007)



"Gordon Conway has set out a bold but doable agenda for meeting the food challenges the world faces. The brilliant and practical insights expounded in this book will help drive a sustainable green revolution in Africa."—Akinwumi Adesina, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria



"One Billion Hungry is an excellent source of evidence-based proposals on how to feed the world in a sustainable manner. It is an antidote for pessimism and will go a long way in inspiring the global community to act in time. The book is as inspirational as it is pragmatic."—Calestous Juma, Harvard Kennedy School



"Sadly, the majority of the one billion hungry are smallholder farmers faced with limited opportunities to improve their livelihoods. This book promotes access to technology and, in partnership with the hungry, links evidence to policy and action."—Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Diplomatic Mission, FANRPAN (Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network)

About the Author

Sir Gordon Conway is Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London. He is the author of The Doubly Green Revolution: Food for All in the Twenty-First Century and One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?(both from Cornell) and coauthor of Science and Innovation for Development.



Rajiv Shah is the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Comstock Publishing Associates; 1 edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801478022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801478024
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Holt-Gimenez on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
Sir Gordon Conway's One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World? is the authoritative text for the 21st Century iteration of what Raj Patel (2013) calls the "Long Green Revolution." In it, Dr. Conway outlines an approach for ending hunger and poverty by reaching out to the world's hungriest people--peasant farmers.

One Billion Hungry is an expanded update of Conway's earlier work, The doubly Green Revolution (Conway1997). During the 15 year hiatus between books, an explosive combination of global warming, peak oil, water scarcity, agrofuels, grain-fed meat, land grabbing and financial speculation has ushered in a new era of high, volatile food prices and widespread peasant dispossession and impoverishment. Notwithstanding record global harvests following an average annual rise in food per capita of 12% over the last twenty years, in 2008 and 2011 over 1 billion people went hungry, triggering food riots and full-scale rebellions. The resulting human suffering and political instability have called the legitimacy of the global food system--and the Green Revolution--seriously into question.

One Billion Hungry attempts to re-establish the imperative of the Green Revolution under conditions of global markets, monopoly concentration and the privatization of pretty much everything--including the hallmark public research of the original Green Revolution. Conway laments these developments, but ultimately accepts the liberalization of food systems and avoids questioning heroic assumptions of endless global economic growth. This steers One Billion Hungry to the standard Green Revolution proposal: to feed 9 billion people, we must double food production by 2050.

For Dr.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Weiss on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the bible, not just on hunger, but on all aspects of sustainable international agriculture as it affects developing countries,. It is full of up to date information and sound insights born of Prof. Conway's enormous experience. The standard text on the subject, worth reading cover to cover. I will be using it in my courses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be mandatory in the school, our ability to provide the food people need to survive, will be tested in the coming years. Gordon Conway establish a compelling and articulated exposition of the different road we can take to prevent this disaster.
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By Emma Button on December 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In his book, Gordon Conway writes of pathways to start a Doubly Green Revolution to complete what was lacking in the Green Revolution (namely, increasing food production to eradicate hunger and decrease the environmental impacts). All of his suggestions are extremely valid and exciting - especially because of his passion to see food production increase while reducing environmental impacts. He did a fair job of evaluating the benefits of fertilizer use and irrigation in light of their potential destructive effects on the environment. However, the book fell short because of its breadth. With such a broad message, Conway was disabled from ever being able to provide satisfactory solutions. The best he could offer were conceptual, vague solutions that sound good on paper but leave much to be desired in terms of practical application. This book could have be much more exciting and engaging to read if it had connected the author's broad ideals (i.e. conservation tilling) with practical applications (i.e. how did this work in a specific region? What were challenges? Successes?). All in all, I thought Conway tried to pack too much information in his book and the result was a collection of vague, fuzzy goals that the reader is doubtful will ever actually be accomplished.
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Format: Paperback
This was a perfectly reasonable attempt to explain to political theorists some of the realities on the ground in feeding the world. As some of the other reviews suggest, this is not an easy job as utter politically motivated nonsense gets in the way of a realistic examination of history - "we" find a way through education and technological improvement that overcomes thousands of years of superstition and horrendous government policy. This book is a start.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Gordon Conway spells out the sad reality of world hunger but then proceeds, in an extremely practical and realistic manner, to explain how this situation can be overturned. His emphasis is on ways in which smallholder farmers can improve productivity with the help of modern technology, without them becoming a slave to this technology. This is an optimistic but realistic book - a must read for decision makers world wide.
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