Summer Reading Guide

Published August 1, 2000

A Guide to Smart Growth : Shattering Myths, Providing Solutions
by Jane S. Shaw and Ronald D. Utt
The Heritage Foundation * April 21, 2000 * 16 pp. price $12.95

There is an enormous literature on urban planning, “sprawl,” and now “smart growth.” Most of it is anecdotal and driven by the authors’ agendas: anti-car, anti-middle class, anti-population growth, anti-capitalism, etc. The best report I found before seeing this book was The Costs of Sprawl–Revisited, published by the National Academy Press in 1998.

Even “The Costs of Sprawl–Revisited” pales in comparison to A Guide to Smart Growth. This book is written by some of the most informed and provocative voices in the debate over “sprawl” and smart growth. Wendell Cox is simply devastating in his comments on mass transit and how to manage congestion. John Charles demolishes the “Portland Model.” Sam Staley shows how land use problems can be solved without the centralization of power that lies at the heart of all smart growth proposals.

Best of all, every chapter is filled with data and source citations, not just opinions and speculation. This is public policy research the way it should be: informed, factual, and rigorous. It is an urban policy researcher’s dream come true.

A Guide to Smart Growth should be required reading for every student in an urban planning or public policy program in the country. Environmentalists who believe “sprawl” is a major threat to farmland also owe it to themselves to read it. It really is that good.
reviewed by Joseph L. Bast
The Heartland Institute

Earth Report 2000
edited by Ronald Bailey, science correspondent
Reason magazine
McGraw Hill/Competitive Enterprise Institute * December 1999
order for $12.00 at

Bailey draws on nearly a dozen environmental experts who take a detailed look at the state of the environment and current trends. It is an insightful, well-documented analysis of the state of the world. A “must have” reference book for anyone interested in environment affairs.
reviewed by Tom Randall
Managing Editor
Environment & Climate News

National Directory of Environmental Victims 2000
compiled by John Carlisle
National Center for Public Policy Research * 2000 * 85 pp. * $15.00

Carlisle offers succinct, well-researched stories of 100 victims of abuse of power of environmental and other regulatory agencies. An outstanding, quick read that will provide you with new insights into the methods and motives of these agencies.
reviewed by Tom Randall
Managing Editor
Environment & Climate News

Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children about the Environment
by Michael Sanera and Jane S. Shaw
Regnery Publishing Inc. * September 1999 (2nd edition) price $14.36

This book is the most accessible of the free-market environmentalist works.

It is sad that many people will write it off out of closed-mindedness and intellectual intolerance. That we ought to consider the costs as well as the benefits of slowing economic growth to benefit the environment, or that some well-intentioned environmental policies have disastrous unintended consequences — these and other ideas in the book cut against the dogma accepted by the popular press and the education establishment.

Contrary to what some of the other reviews tell us, the logic and scientific authority in this book is impeccable, and the benefits of sound environmental policy do not unremarked. (If you want poor logic and duplicitous omission of facts, go to Zero Population Growth — I had the pleasure of attending one of their high-school workshops, and it was frightening indeed.)

Highly recommended. If you want your child to receive a more balanced view of environmental issues than he or she may be getting in school, or if you want a quick survey of those issues for yourself, look no further.
review by Ananda Gupta
Bethesda, Maryland

America’s Ancient Forests: From the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery
by Thomas M. Bonnicksen, professor of forestry science, Texas A & M University
John Wiley & Sons * March 2000 * 304 pages price $75.00

This book tracks the disassembly and reassembly of forests by climate changes over the centuries. It also examines the historical role of man in forest management. The book is scholarly (well-documented) but reads more like a narrative story.
reviewed by Tom Randall
Managing Editor
Environment & Climate News