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The Population Bomb Paperback – May 1, 1970


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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 (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,742,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

68 of 94 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patriot Reader on November 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Eco-craziness reached its peak with this book - it reads like science fiction, with the "fiction" part being the operative word.
None of the over-the-top doom saying that Ehrlich put out there ever came to pass, and to read it now is just like listening to the crazy ranting of some drugged-out street person.

World wide starvation...nope, didn't happen. Nuclear war? Nope, didn't happen. Ecological collapse? Nope...... This guy batted *ZERO*.

The book does have a use though, it'll help you peer into the crazy mindset of the gloom and doom eco nuts....the current global warming zealots should have read this book before they fell for Al Gore's BS ....
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144 of 215 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.
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25 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Eric Laffoon on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this pap in high school. I'm astonished this book could even be in print. It is the height of hubris of a tenured professor. I wonder if those people giving it a positive review are bothered by every prediction being wrong or even know who Malthus was. It is a sad indictment of our educational institutions that they fail to teach students to acually think. Instead they regurgitate disproven ideas by the likes of Malthus, Keynes and Ehrlich. I recall seeing a Time Magazine list of the worst books of the 20th century and this book made it.

In 1980 economist Julian Simons made a $1000 bet with Ehrlich. They picked precious metals and Ehlich bet in 10 years the price would go up vs down. At the end of 10 years Ehrlich wrote a check for more than $400 which the victor promptly framed and hung on his wall. Of course being tenured Ehrlich need not be right. Today he is an oracle for anthropogenic global warming, another discredited whacky idea. Read this book if you want to experience an intellectual moron or have read everything from Stephen King and like cheesy horror. In closing, it was a really lousy thing for my duluded teacher to have me under a cloud of dread for years. Had she instead directed me to read Malthus it would have been easy to see he was historically wrong. Paul Erlich has made a career of being wrong and scaring people. This book is a bad joke!
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4 of 6 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.
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49 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When one makes a major claim, such as saying that the poverty in Africa is caused by overpopulation and a lack of natural resources, then one should be able to provide facts, sources, statistics, empirical evidence, etc., to be able to back up one's claim. Because without such evidence, the claim has no merit.
When Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb, he did not have any evidence to prove his claims. And the reason for this is because such evidence in fact does not exist! For example, consider his claim that Africa is overpopulated. Well, the United Nations has kept population statistics for many decades. These statistics can be looked at by anybody. And according to these statisitcis, most of the countries in Africa have very low population densities. Despite this, Ehrlich claims that there are too many people in Africa. Hmm. Can anybody say 'racism'?
Another of Ehrlich's claims is that Africa does not have enough natural resources. And once again, Ehrlich does not proivide any evidence to support his claim. And again, this is because such evidence simply does not exist. If Ehrlich had simply taken the time to look in any geology textbook, he would have seen that the land in Africa has an abundant supply of many valuable natural resources, including gold, coal, iron, copper, aluminum, lead, diamonds, and many other natural resources. Again, Ehrlich didn't do his homework. Shame on him.
Another claim by Ehrlich is that Africa is incapale of feeding itself. What Ehrlich completely ignores is the fact that Africa has vast expanses of land that could be used to grow crops. In fact, the fact that Africa is situated at the equator allows for Africa to grow food year round.
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