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Our Daily Bread, The Essential Norman Borlaug Hardcover – October 12, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

During a long career at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Noel Vietmeyer produced over 30 books describing innovations that can benefit Africa, Asia and Latin America.

He was also a prolific freelance writer, producing some 200 articles for publications such as National Geographic, Reader's Digest, Smithsonian, Encyclopaedia Britannica, World Book, International Wildlife and Ranger Rick.

Through his National Academy of Sciences service Vietmeyer met Norman Borlaug, the hero of our age and the main reason why the world can feed 7 billion people. Borlaug's life was packed with adventure and drama, and in this book Vietmeyer relates it all. The result is the suspense-filled saga of how we got our daily bread.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Bracing Books; First edition (October 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578095556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578095554
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
From the beginning of his life, this was just a guy who wouldn't quit, wasn't he? Inspiring just to read how a lad could go from expecting to leave school at 8th grade, because everyone did, to gaining post-graduate schooling. I couldn't stop reading this book, it is as compelling as any fiction book for me. But as much as his early life was nifty, his career in agriculture and breeding wheat was what really made the man a hero.

I'd love to go on and on at length, about genetic engineeering and the exciting possibilities for agriculture that it gives us. I was thrilled and delighted with this book, with the earthy characters in it, and the vision of the future it gave me. I grew up with permaculture and intensive gardening methods, just *thinking* about what could be done makes me want to get my hands in dirt. But I will wait a bit, and finish my bookwork. Like the rackety scholar Borlaug was, it's time for me to buckle down and get the thing finished, as his mentor scolded him.

He spent long dusty years toiling in a country not his own, giving poor children and neglected women a chance for jobs and education. He revolutionized the wheat industry. And then, to top it off, he traveled the world to end hunger in India, Pakistan, and beyond. I wish there were more men like this.

This is what the key is… not America stepping in with largesse (at least until we run out of money and patience). But teaching the world to grow their own food. There are, as you read this book, still places who do things the old way, and who react as the old farmers did to Borlaug at first.

I highly recommend the book to anyone interested not in farming, but in culture, population growth, and the future. We are slaves to our stomachs, and Norman Borlaug broke that chain for millions. Why couldn't it be done again? I don't see any reason why not, except…
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Borlaug exemplifies the best of the American Spirit. His obituary in the N.Y. Times read "He Only Saved Six BILLION People". A poor Iowa dirt farmer (from a pre-Depression area and era that had not yet had contact with the industrial revolution) who with an iron will and a belief in himself and all human beings changed the world and gave it the Green Revolution. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and deserved it more than any other nominee. And in his spare time he created Little League baseball in Mexico culminating in the 1957 LL World Series championship won by the Monterrey, Mexico team, the first foreign team to enter the Little League competition. His life story should be made into a movie so that more people can see what he did, and what he went through to do it. This book is a road map to international cooperation in the service of all mankind. There is a quote on the back dust jacket of the book from M.S. Swaminathan, a member of the Indian parliament that reads, "There is a saying in Gita that, from time to time, God appears on earth in disguise. When the world was in a serious food crisis one of the godly forms who appeared was Norman Borlaug."
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Format: Hardcover
Through a busy month, I just finished reading Our Daily Bread and declare it an excellent narrative. With much of it in Norman Borlaug's own words, it moves forward in a continuous rush. I like this format very much. It reads well and it reads fast and that demands attention. It will be well received.

I would like to have seen an index. I'm an index scanner. I like to know who's there, who's not, and how often they appear or disappear by page number. Perhaps something for a second edition? Its absence is easily overcome with a highlighter and margin notes.

From Iowa to India, Mexico to Pakistan, Our Daily Bread, The Essential Norman Borlaug by Noel Vietmeyer is a worthy original historic account of the early years of what has become known as the "Green Revolution" -- in addition to being a compelling read.

I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very inspiring book about a man who saved over a billion lives through sheer grit, determination, optimism, scientific brilliance and plain old common sense. As humble as they come, Borlaug overcame the grinding poverty of his youth to be the first to go to college in his family. He left a good job with Du Pont in the US and toiled alone and unsung in rural Mexico in the 1940s for years when mere mortals would have long given up. Years of hardwork resulted in new varities of wheat that literally saved humanity in the hungriest parts of the world. The book is full of riveting accounts of his exploits. The author knew him well and makes the book highly readable by providing vignettes of his experiences. Hollywood should consider this book for a major motion picture.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Norman Borlaug changed the world. He came from humble beginings. His thirst for education, his underlying values, hard work, and dedication is inspiring. We don't all agree on what modern agriculture should look like, but at heart agronomists are applied scientists who want to help feed the world. While the pundits argue hungry mouths need food. How Dr. Borlaug turned around huge obstacles is documented in this book. It should be read to appreciate just how hard farm life was, and how agriculture development is the engine of prosperity. The world today is a different place thanks to Dr. Borlaug, and we can debate technology, however, this story remains an inspiration for those who care about using their talents for the common good.
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