“After decades of failed efforts by the scientific community to alert the public to the environmental dangers of population growth and overpopulation, a first-rate historian has finally detailed both the arguments and their policy implications. Derek S. Hoff has taken a comprehensive look at the debates in the United States between those who realize as Malthus did that the growing population will sooner or later outstrip Earth's capacity to support people and those who imagine that there are no limits to that growth. Everyone interested in population should read The State and the Stork. This is an incredibly timely book.”
(Paul R. Ehrlich Author of The Population Bomb and The Dominant Animal
“Derek Hoff has taken an important, complicated topic and traced it over the whole of American history. The research on display here is striking in its breadth and depth, Hoff’s insights are penetrating, and his interpretation is original. The State and the Stork is a solid piece of scholarship.”
(Robert Collins University of Missouri
“The State and the Stork takes up an enduring but often ignored question in modern American political history. How precisely have debates concerning the dynamics of population expansion affected the development of modern public policy and statecraft in the American experience? Strangely enough, there has been little in the way of recent scholarship that directly addresses this query—nor has there been a genuine effort to construct a narrative that spans the entirety of American history and squarely confronts it. It is this gap in the literature that Derek S. Hoff fills in a significant and original fashion
(Michael A. Bernstein Tulane University
"Derek Hoff writes with subtlety and nuance and he makes a major contribution to our understanding of the public policies of the Great Society and Richard M. Nixon years by introducing the variable of population into the discussion. . . . A careful reading of this book will reward readers with many new insights into the course of modern American history. It demonstrates the author's considerable talents in the fields of intellectual, policy, and political history."
(Edward D. Berkowitz Journal of American History
In his excellent book The State and the Stork, Derek Hoff examines the ways in which economists, demographers, social scientists and politicians in the US have traced patterns in Malthus’ domain. Hoff’s is an elegant clarion call to demographic arms, and . . . an assured guide through two centuries of Malthusian wrangling."
(Robert J. Mayhew Times Higher Education
[Hoff's] meticulous archival research adds considerably to our knowledge of the machinations that lay behind President Richard Nixon's decision to establish a Presidential Commission on Population and America's Future and his subsequent disavowal of its findings. He does a similarly excellent job tracing the economic and environmental thought that led to the rise of Zero Population Growth as a significant policy movement and the subsequent changes in that thinking which led to its declining policy relevance . . . Hoff has done a real service by bringing to the foreground the economic dimension of US debates over population size and growth, a topic that has been relegated to the shadows for too long.
"(Population and Development Review
[Hoff's] survey has remarkable breadth, relating hundreds of thinkers' ideas to the shifting center of opinion and terms of the debate about whether rising population will lead to a declining standard of living (pessimistic Malthusianim) or spur improvements. . . . Highly Recommended [three stars].
About the Author
Derek S. Hoff is associate professor of history at Kansas State University and the coauthor of Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Decision, the Contract Clause, and the Great Depression.