A well-grounded but rambling treatment of the big global issues, with a heavy technological emphasis. A former professor of geochemistry and of science and government at the California Institute of Technology, Brown deftly treats the questions of energy, food, population growth, nuclear weapons, and the global gap between rich and poor. And the questions of climatic changes and ozonelayer depletion. And terrorism, the significance of the OPEC cartel, and the totalitarian temptation in the Third World. This is less a book to be read than a handbook to be consulted for quick information or bibliographical guidance on a specific issue. A main and effectively argued theme is the growing interconnectedness among world issues. Fertilizer to solve the food problem, for example, is manufactured from petroleum, which brings the energy problem to the door of the erstwhile agronomist. Coal--an answer to the energy problem--depletes the ozone. Military, energy, and ecological interests meet in the field of nuclear power. Brown's strength--and stress--is technology: the description of modern life in terms of its interaction with the physical world. His treatment of economic and political topics, less astute, hinges on such common observations as the need to prevent nuclear proliferation and to develop the Third World. Although annoyingly repetitive--we read five times that Russia is self-sufficient in fuel and minerals--the book is a respectable addition to the lengthening shelf of generalist books addressing global problems.