Albert Einstein called progress 'the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal', and in this timely book Ronald Wright shows how the twentieth century's runaway growth in human population, consumption, and technology have placed a murderous burden on the planet. Asking where this growth lead, whether it can be consolidated or sustained and what kind of world the present bequeathing to the future, he argues that our modern predicament is as old as civilisation, a 10,000-year experiment we have participated in but seldom controlled. Only by understanding the patterns of triumph and disaster that humanity has repeated since the Stone Age can we recognise the experiment's inherent dangers, and, with luck and wisdom, shape its outcome.
Ronald Wright is a prize-winning novelist, historian, and essayist, published in ten languages. His nonfiction includes the number-one bestseller Stolen Continents, winner of the Gordon Montador Award and chosen as a book of the year by the Independent and the Sunday Times. His first novel, A Scientific Romance, won the 1997 David Higham Prize for Fiction and was chosen a book of the year by the Globe and Mail, the Sunday Times, and the New York Times. His latest book is the novel Henderson's Spear. He was born in England, educated at Cambridge, and now lives in British Columbia, Canada.