Books et al.Science Lives

How shall we save the planet?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 399
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2447

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Charles Mann's new book, The Wizard and the Prophet, is about two pivotal but largely forgotten men of science. Mann casts the "prophet" William Vogt (1902–1968) as the central figure of mid-century "Malthusianism" and pied piper of "apocalyptic environmentalism," while Norman Borlaug (1914–2009) who played a starring role in the Green Revolution and believed that the application of science and technology could liberate humans from the shackles of nature plays the part of the "wizard." But the achievement of the book goes beyond detailing the accomplishments of these two individuals. With his trademark interdisciplinary wisdom, Mann travels the globe to visit other wizards and prophets working on the world's most challenging environmental problems.