Buy Used
$15.97
Condition: :
Comment: Some wear on the cover and some wear from use/time. Enjoy!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Population Bomb Paperback – May 1, 1970


See all 29 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, Import
"Please retry"
$4.42
Paperback, May 1, 1970
$12.00
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$29.99

"A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption"
Various interest groups encamped in the District of Columbia mean we now have a special interest democracy. Find out more
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: A SIERRA CLUB-BALLANTINE BOOK; 13th Printing edition (May 1, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000EI3XOS
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I'm sure Dr. Ehrlich meant well, but boy, was he wrong.
Glenn Gallagher
In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote his book "The Population Bomb." In this book, he said that the earth had too many people.
grundle2600
His reasoning could easily be proved wrong if he simply tried to make similar predictions about the past.
Lubos Motl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Gallagher VINE VOICE on November 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read the Population Bomb when it first came out, and believed it. Paul Ehrlich envisioned a horrific future with mass starvation of millions, if not billions of people by 1995. As we now know, Ehrlich was a Malthusian of the worst order, and almost single-handedly gave environmentalists a bad name. He is the epitome of an alarmist who has significantly harmed the ability of reasonable environmentalists to be taken seriously (The Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome). I'm sure Dr. Ehrlich meant well, but boy, was he wrong. This book should rest in peace, never to be read again. Or, perhaps it could be read as a lesson learned in how to avoid making extremist statements that make you and your colleagues look stupid.
15 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Reese (author of Sustainable or Bust) on November 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1968, biologist Paul Ehrlich achieved infamy by publishing The Population Bomb, one of the most controversial eco-books ever printed. Ehrlich has been condemned to spend eternity with Thomas Malthus, in a dungeon reserved for doom perverts. To this day, professors still use the two lads as great reasons to never take seriously anyone who asserts that there are limits to growth. We all know, of course, that humankind has no limits. We have technology!

Actually, Malthus never predicted catastrophic famine. He simply stated the obvious — when population reaches overshoot, the death rate will automatically rise to restore balance, one way or another (starvation, disease, conflict). A thousand people cannot prosper if forced to share ten cheeseburgers a day. The overshoot ceiling rises when food is abundant, and falls when food is scarce. Malthus was not a doomer. His cardinal sin was declaring the obvious — that there are limits to growth.

Ehrlich, on the other hand, actually did predict catastrophic famine, and soon. The first lines in his book are, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Millions indeed starved, but not hundreds of millions. Everyone agrees that this prediction was inaccurate or premature.

When Ehrlich was writing, India was sliding toward catastrophic famine. Only ten nations produced more food than they consumed in 1966. In America, the postwar baby boom led to a freakish population spike of 55 million in 20 years. The streets of 1968 were jammed with scruffy rebels protesting the Vietnam War, and our totally unhip way of life.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Mitch on January 9, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love it or hate it the Erhlich definitely succeeded in bringing focus on population related issues. As seen in the negative reviews posted here people have taken the time to consider the issue(s) involved. Any list of influential texts on the environment and environmental activism will include The Population Bomb. It also is a period piece that gives insight to the time period it was written. People are still moved by Erlich's premise and are compelled to comment even 50 years after the book was published.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
144 of 216 people found the following review helpful By William E. Fleischmann on August 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Paul Ehrlich begins the work that gave him instant notoriety (infamy) by saying: "I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time."
He spends the next 180 pages proving conclusively that such is not the case.
It isn't simply that his predictions turned out to be wrong in some of the particulars, but rather that they were so completely wrong that they will NEVER come to pass (though he unrepentantly continues to beat the same drum).
Ehrlich predicted that, by the end of the 20th century, human want would outstrip available resources; whole areas of human endeavor would screech to a halt due to resource scarcity; England would, in all likelihood, cease to exist; India would collapse due to its inability to feed itself; and "inevitable" mass starvation would sweep the globe (including the US). We were on the brink of disaster in 1968, and the future looked very, very dark. In fact, he asserts, "it is now too late to take action to save many of those people."
And yet none of these things have come to pass. Why? Because Ehrlich makes the same mistake that Malthus did: he confuses the concept of finite resources with the notion that they (and the demand for them) are fixed. This is the point that Ehrlich's detractors (most notably Julian Simon) have been making for decades.
Ehrlich did not foresee the technological innovations (the Green Revolution) that have been such a boon to mankind, or changes in both the supply and demand of various resources (such as those in his famous bet with Simon). But such changes were inevitable (far more than the catastrophe that he predicted). The entire history of human endeavor is adaptive. As resources become more scarce, their costs rise.
Read more ›
106 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
Although this book was first published in the late sixties and there have been tremendous technological and social changes since then that have delayed the inevitable, the fundamental message remains accurate. For Ehrlich's basic thesis is based on fundamental laws of the growth of populations, the mathematical equations that describe the increase in the size of species populations are taught in basic courses in mathematics. Absent predators and with steady increases in the availability of resources, populations will inevitably rise to an unsustainable level.
At that point the companion mathematical equations that describe the decline of populations will then become operative, members will begin dying, generally the weak and vulnerable first, but inevitably will continue until the numbers once more reach the level that can be sustained.
The current crisis of climate change is based on the fact that there are too many people for the planet to support long-term. As Thomas Malthus before him and Ehrlich in this book understand, resources are being rapidly exhausted and the planet is changing as a consequence. This book was an early alarm about an obvious looming problem. While there have been wondrous new technologies that have delayed the inevitable, there seems no way to avoid what Ehrlich warned about. At some point the laws of biology will take charge and there will be a major downward correction in the human population.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?