MixedScience MagazineNot a history. It finds a correlation between climate change and social change, but it does not document causality. It is worth reading because it ventures into a territory many more writers and thinkers will have to grapple with: a world in which the physical workings of nature are profoundly intertwined with human destiny.
Charles C. Mann
RaveThe San Francisco ChronicleMann once again produces a highly readable, historical tome … At the beginning of their careers, neither Vogt nor Borlaug set out to save the world or even make much of a mark, and a big pleasure in Mann’s book is the unfolding of their eventual passions and destinies … Mann assembles a compendium of earthly woes, organized by the elements to which they relate. Earth is where we still face food shortages, water is the elixir of life in too-short supply, fire is the way we transform fossil fuels to power our ravening ways, and air is the realm of that most devilish beast, climate change … Mann poses the wizard and the prophet as dichotomous endpoints. His narrative device helps us to consider highly complex problems that don’t fit neatly into separate categories, and we aren’t stuck between them. In fact, Borlaug and Vogt were in sync on the elephant in every room.
PositiveThe San Francisco Chronicle...[an] entertaining and enlightening book ... In contrast to the painstaking process by which science arrives at its certainties, an earthquake takes just a few minutes to reorder reality. Fountain sets the scene for an abrupt wake-up call, and his description of how it unfolds is gripping.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleReporting on an international roster of research, Williams explains that growing and green environments not only improve one’s mood, but slow down the aging process and support cognitive functioning on the highest order. It might seem like common sense, but evidently we need to take the idea more seriously ... While Williams does a thorough job of rounding up the science behind the benefits of the wild, her narrative is most effective when she evokes art and metaphor. The numbers don’t say it as well as Wordsworth did: 'How exquisitely the individual Mind...to the eternal World is fitted.'