Paul Ralph Ehrlich is an American biologist and educator who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology. By training he is an entomologist specializing in Lepidoptera (butterflies), but he is better known as an ecologist and a demographer, specifically for his warnings about unchecked population growth and limited resources. Ehrlich became a household name after publication of his controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb.
I picked up this book because John Holdren, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, co-authored this book. There's some really troubling proposals in the book on solutions to the population boom of the 1970s. I was shocked to read some of the Brave New World-esque ideas that were mentioned. Of the chapter I read, it reminded me of every dystopic novel I'm familiar with.
Interestingly, Holdren was addressed by the Senate on the controversial ideas in the book and he officially distanced himself from the idea that the government should have a role in population control. Furthermore he announced that he never advocated forced abortions. (Another suggestion was forced adoptions for families with more than 2 children with the possibility of the mother getting the child back after filling out adoption papers and whatnot.)
I found myself with my mouth agape on more than a handful of occasions. Despite all this, it is of some comfort that not only did my copy not have mention of his name (although Goodreads and Amazon both credit him), but also that he made it official that he doesn't support some of the ideas.
Also, may it be noted that I did not finish the book and that I only read some of one chapter before I decided that I didn't want to read anymore.
This was a textbook in a course called "Nature, Science and Man" that I took as an elective many years ago while studying engineering. The course and this book probably changed my life. I started off doing engineering, but after a few other adventures, ended up doing environmental consulting for the last 2 decades. I should have known after taking that course and reading this book what my true calling was, but I got distracted. Better late than never!
I'm guessing the book is out of date now, but check out some more recent books and other publications by the authors for an update!