Author: Vietmeyer Noel
You see, in the middle of the 20th Century the world was fast running out of food. Earth’s 3 billion people were then producing babies at a rate to double the population by century’s end; yet global food production was stuck in first gear; the good farmland was in full use and its per-acre productivity was barely budging. The catastrophe arising from too little food to feed the human race seemed inevitable; no one in authority had any practical answer. Human numbers were about to plunge, unraveling whole societies and entangling every nation in all-consuming chaos.
These volumes highlight the amazing chain of circumstance that produced the Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug as well as his super-producing wheats. This loner’s starvation-busting seeds arrived seemingly heaven sent to save hundreds of millions from the slowest and most agonizing of all deaths. India’s wheat production, to cite just one example, soared in less than two years from 12 to 20 million tons a rise so unexpected that, to protect the grain from the monsoon rain, the schools had to be closed and co-opted as granaries.
Volume 1 opens this series, laying the foundation for the human drama behind all that hardly known history. It divulges the searing experiences that developed Norman Borlaug’s dedication, drive and motivation to help the hungry. A powerful blend of biography, history, science, adventure, and what might be called the American spirit, it relates in lively prose how young Borlaug often went hungry himself and how high-yielding seeds (corn, in this case) lifted his own family from poverty in rural Iowa. It also highlights Angels of Deliverance most of them strangers who selflessly interceded when his path to progress seemed forever blocked. In addition, its pages are sprinkled with surprises, coincidences, “can-do” characters and personal dramas such as Borlaug s life during the months the president forced all Americans to diet because the wheat crop had failed. Beyond all that, young Borlaug lives through the 1918 flu, the Great Depression, joblessness, a forest fire and very much more.
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