- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Island Press; None edition (May 8, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597260193
- ISBN-13: 978-1597260190
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,756,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want" By Robert Engelman addresses the topic of population growth and Engelman proposes the feasibility and opportunity of sequentially changing the world in terms of environment, health, and economics if we begin with and listen to our child bearers. Any control, such as it is, should begin and end with the individual decisions of women.
"More" accomplishes many tasks: First, it gives us a fascinating perspective of historical, scientific, sociological, cultural, and statistical data which illustrate how population and subsequent attitudes evolved. But don't let that put you off - it does not read with the pontification of a dry textbook. Engelman presents the information in an easy-going, conversational manner that's often punctuated with piquant humor.
Much of Engelman's statistical data and research was gathered over a 20-some-year period while serving as vice president for research at "Population Action International." Engelman is currently the vice president for programs at the "Worldwatch Institute."
One of the things we are reminded is that the topic of population and population growth with impact on economics, natural resources, and health care is not a new issue that popped up 10 minutes ago. Economists, writers, and philosophers have debated and analyzed population growth for centuries and Engelman gives us insightful overviews and predictions from such individuals including "Hale," Graunt," "Malthus" and "Wollstonecraft."
Secondly, Engelman tells us, based on years of travel and interviews what women around the world think. And to quote the author, "Mothers aren't seeking more children, but more for their children."
Cities and towns in developing countries (such as Accra, the capital of Ghana) are listening to women as well by offering reproductive health care. Clinics are made available to both men and women and inspire women to take charge of their lives and future. To quote the author, "The pervasive message is that staying healthy and making life plans are good - and not hard to do." Women are encouraged to decide for themselves when to start a family as well as the size of said family. Who better to know what's best than the child bearer and her partner.
"More" does not have to be taken as a political or religious indictment and the point is not to attack the reader's belief system. "More" is designed to propose ideas and (possible outcomes) based on the past and present and give the reader something to ponder. "More" is meant to enlighten. And as with any issue, change cannot begin until the issue is questioned and acknowledged.
More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want
As a result of its strong ties to social norms, politics, and religion, I have always found the population problem to be challenging and frustrating. I found "More" to be an encouraging book, and recommend it to everyone with an interest in the long term future of humanity and our world. More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want
The author offers the reader a pretty good thumbnail sketch of the theories of where we Homo Sapiens originally came from, and why it was that we ended up on top rather than some of our distant cousins. Many of these theories are subjective and in the field of evolutionary biology there are as many theories as there are really good scholars, pretty good scholars, amateurs and your run of the mill crackpot, so for the number of pages the author does a really nice job giving the reader a good sampling of theories without overloading the reader.
Next the author gives the reader a very interesting history of contraceptives, attitudes towards sex over human history, feminism and opposition to all of these. I was fascinated to learn parts of history I was completely ignorant about before reading this book. The author also posits some very interesting theories about humans move to agrarian societies all the way to the witch trials in Europe. The author makes a very strong argument for sex and population being very important prime movers in human events. Of course population size and sex are always important, but this book has put forth some ideas I had not considered before.
What was very compelling for me was the author's work and description of working in third world countries. Reading his interviews with these people and getting an idea of the desperation they live with and the problems they face because they do not have access to adequate contraceptives or education was distressing. I couldn't imagine a life spent either pregnant or taking care of an infant all of ones life, or having sex be similar to playing Russian roulette where every encounter could cause pregnancy or disease. Even more than that was how badly these people want access to contraceptives and family planning resources which is heartbreaking. As I was reading about all the deaths and disease attributable to abortions and births performed in unsafe conditions that could have been prevented with nothing more than a simple condom you realize how lucky we are and just how little it would take to change other peoples lives for the better.
This book has some very well thought out arguments with detailed conclusions backed up with historical data and first hand research. Not only that but the author presents the material in a very accessible way. The book is short which diminishes the intimidation factor, and will hopefully make it more palatable for a more general readership. My one main criticism is that I hate the silly little puns and some of the attempts at levity that peppers this work. The author is obviously a well educated individual who has written a well thought out scientific book that is meant to be taken seriously. These puns and metaphors in scientific works are the bane of my existence. I cannot express the depth of my loathing for this practice. They irk me to no end. With that said, I understand that the author was attempting to give this book a wider readership and perhaps these attempts at levity help to lighten a very deep and serious subject for readers helping to bring more people to the book, but my understanding that doesn't have to mean that I like it. I didn't take off for it though, but felt I still needed to vent here a little.
This is a very serious subject, and is one that needs our attention now. This book is important for the discussion that needs to be taking place now. With that said I highly recommend this work.
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More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, is an explanation of the history and prehistory of human population...Read more