A delightfully stimulating and not terribly controversial overview of human demographics.

EMPTY PLANET

THE SHOCK OF GLOBAL POPULATION DECLINE

A lively exploration of how “we do not face the challenge of a population bomb but of a population bust—a relentless, generation-after-generation culling of the human herd.”

Warnings of catastrophic world overpopulation have filled the media since the 1960s, so this expert, well-researched explanation that it’s not happening will surprise many readers. Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, and Globe and Mail writer at large Ibbitson (co-authors: The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture, and What It Means for Our Future, 2013) point out that a dozen nations are already shrinking. “By 2050,” they write, “the number will have climbed to three dozen. Some of the richest places on earth are shedding people every year: Japan, Korea, Spain, Italy, much of eastern Europe.” The authors explain that throughout history, birth and death rates were high, and population grew slowly. After 1800, increased food production and public health improvements lowered death rates, so populations boomed, but this didn’t last long. Also after 1800 came the Industrial Revolution and urbanization. Children are a big help on the farm but little use in a city. Perhaps most important, the authors emphasize, when women acquire education and status—something that happens in cities—they have fewer children. As a result, birth rates began dropping along with death rates, and most readers will be surprised to learn that the poor are not exempt. Brazil’s fertility is below its replacement rate, and Mexico’s is fast approaching. While it’s not unanimous, the authors are not alone in concluding that world population, now around 8 billion, will stabilize near 8.5 billion at midcentury and then decline. This is not necessarily good news. Nations losing population suffer labor shortages and an excess of elderly whose support requires taxes from a shrinking number of younger workers. The only effective solution to population decline is immigration, which, all researchers and the authors agree, always benefits their new nation.

A delightfully stimulating and not terribly controversial overview of human demographics.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984823-21-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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