Eric Kaufmann

Too Many People?

Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet

By

Harvard University Press/The Belknap Press 284pp £20 order from our bookshop

The temperature of our globe is rising and the population debate is heating up. The mounting stack of books in this field, to which I admit contributing several titles, often lacks historical perspective. Partisans of the two camps, Malthusians and Cornucopians, build Malthus up as hero or straw man, effacing the complexity of his arguments. Robert Mayhew, an intellectual historian and geographer, nicely points out in his new book how the man has been repeatedly truncated, his arguments airbrushed to suit the stock character demanded by friend and foe alike. 

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