Wizards and prophets

Books | SCIENCE: Our book of the year shows a worldview clash
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:33 am

Norman Borlaug—the wizard in Charles C. Mann’s The Wizard and the Prophet (Knopf)—is the only plant breeder to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and that’s because he used new agricultural technology to increase global grain harvests, making it possible for the world’s population to increase. Borlaug became a scientist because he realized in 1932 that he would not be able to become a second baseman for the Chicago Cubs.

Read more

War on Poverty: Nearly Won (and Lost)

Books | UNDERSTANDING AMERICA: Our book of the year focuses on the war for work
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:31 am

Factoring in government welfare payments, very few Americans lack food, shelter, and clothing—but what about purpose and productivity?

The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass (Encounter) helps us understand America by pointing out a fundamental problem: trillions of dollars poured into low-income households to guarantee consumption, but very little to help those adults become productive.

Read more

Crises R Us

Books | HISTORY: Examining the Civil War, immigration, and other great divides
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:27 am

Jay Sexton’s A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Basic) is our Book of the Year in History because it presents a challenging new perspective in 200 tightly written pages. Instead of telling a conventional story of America’s evolution, he offers the historian’s equivalent of a biologist’s “punctuated equilibrium”: long periods of little change punctuated by dramatic disasters that create surprising benefits.

Read more