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Merchants of Despair 

Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism

Robert Zubrin

   Hardcover: $25.95  Paperback: $16.99
   Published April 2012
   ISBN-10: 1594034761
   ISBN-13: 978-1594034763

   Amazon: HardcoverPaperback.
   Barnes & Noble: Hardcover, Paperback.

Part of our New Atlantis Books series. Buy online today! (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Excerpt 1: “The Population Control Holocaust

Excerpt 2: “The Truth About DDT and Silent Spring

There was a time when humanity looked in the mirror and saw something precious, worth protecting and fighting for — indeed, worth liberating. But now we are beset on all sides by propaganda promoting a radically different viewpoint. According to this idea, human beings are a cancer upon the Earth, a species whose aspirations and appetites are endangering the natural order. This is the core of antihumanism.

Merchants of Despair traces the pedigree of this ideology and exposes its deadly consequences in startling and horrifying detail. The book names the chief prophets and promoters of antihumanism over the last two centuries, from Thomas Malthus through Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore. It exposes the worst crimes perpetrated by the antihumanist movement, including eugenics campaigns in the United States and genocidal anti-development and population-control programs around the world.

Combining riveting tales from history with powerful policy arguments, Merchants of Despair provides scientific refutations to antihumanism’s major pseudo-scientific claims, including its modern tirades against nuclear power, pesticides, population growth, biotech foods, resource depletion, industrial development, and, most recently, fear-mongering about global warming. Merchants of Despair exposes this dangerous agenda and makes the definitive scientific and moral case against it.

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Praise for Merchants of Despair 

“Robert Zubrin’s masterful study...makes for riveting reading. Merchants of Despair is a cautionary tale of what happens when powerful, unprincipled elites are not only alienated from the mass of their fellow men, but come to see them as a barrier to imagined social, evolutionary, or environmental progress.”

— Steven W. Mosher
President, Population Research Institute

Merchants of Despair is an extraordinary and important book....This fascinating volume carefully traces developments of the Malthusian hypothesis right up to the present: through eugenics to population control and genocide; through the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth and extreme environmentalism to climate change and the myth of global warming apocalypse. It is a shocking exposé of a movement whose deadly history has remained hidden far too long. Robert Zubrin has my nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.”

— S. Fred Singer
Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Author of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years

I believe no one to date has so clearly explained the thread of the antihuman movement throughout history. To read this book is to become a warrior in the battle against it.”

— Jay Lehr
Heartland Institute
[further comments here]

“The most devastating account and refutation of antihuman environmentalism ever written.”

Gregory Benford
Professor of Physics, University of California, Irvine
Contributing Editor, Reason magazine

“Such ‘humans-are-the-problem’ pessimism has a long pedigree, of course, and it’s outlined in a book just out.... Zubrin recounts shocking examples of European officials washing their hands of famine in India, Ireland and elsewhere in the name of eliminating surplus population. He describes the ugly eugenics fad that swept the U.S. in the early 20th century and the forcible sterilizations and other abominations that resulted, the rise of a population control movement in the postwar years whose leaders were eager to support, or unwilling to denounce, coercive and even violent policies in the Third World so long as they allegedly dampened population growth.”

Vincent Carroll
Denver Post columnist

“A terrific read!”

Glenn H. Reynolds
Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee

Merchants of Despair is a compelling book that challenges some current ideas and programs of importance. Robert Zubrin raises some excellent questions that need honest answers.”

Donald F. Calbreath
New York Journal of Books

Zubrin skillfully weaves the  work of Malthus, Darwin, and the fathers of eugenics together. He quickly demonstrates that these overlapping theories, when brought together, have become an ideology to rival any religious movement in the hold it exerts on its adherents. Punctuating the book are excellent explanations of pertinent scientific details.... The book is well-written, fast-paced, and suitable for non-academic readers.  It is also extensively footnoted.  It may be profoundly depressing until you realize that the first step to fixing any problem is to acknowledge the problem.”

 Brian London
American Thinker

“Robert Zubrin is making an unpopular case. In his new book, Merchants of Despair, he argues that one of the great fears of the last century — overpopulation — is not just a hoax, but a vehicle for unspeakable human cruelty.... Zubrin shows how the overpopulation movement went from the fringes of American society to being a cause of our elites, and finally became a matter of official policy for the government.... Zubrin’s book makes clear that the only thing dangerous about overpopulation is the actions which have been taken in its name.”

 Jonathan V. Last
The Daily

Mr. Zubrin (a nuclear engineer, science buff and contributor to The New Atlantis, a magazine of common sense concerning these issues) traces antihumanism to the inkwell of the Rev. Thomas Malthus, ordained clergyman of the Church of England, who startled early-19th-century contemporaries with the news that population would soon outrun food supply. It clearly didn’t, but we can see where his gospel of exhaustion has led.... Possibly the strongest chapters in this Tomahawk missile of a book are those dealing with population control, meaning, of course, forced population control under color of making the world a more comfortable place for the controllers.”

William Murchison
Washington Times

“Zubrin’s probing cast of mind, willingness to question conventional truths of some supposedly scientific movements, and engineer’s capacity for testing propositions give him formidable reach.... Zubrin proceeds to demolish many of the most popular pseudoscientific creeds of the last two centuries.”

Joseph Wood
The Catholic Thing

As Robert Zubrin shows in his valuable survey Merchants of Despair, antihumanism’s reductive view of human nature has underpinned movements like eugenics, population control, and radical environmentalism, all of which have been eager to sacrifice human life and well-being to achieve their dubious utopias.... He shows an engineer’s sharp eye for things as they are and a scientist’s respect for the limits of knowledge, especially as regards various pseudoscientific fads.... As Zubrin meticulously documents, the obsession with overpopulation has led to attacks on the economic and technological development that represents the best hope for improving human life around the globe.

Bruce S. Thornton
City Journal

By bringing [several movements] together in one book and covering their history, philosophy, interconnectedness, and horrific consequences, Zubrin provides a unique and valuable resource. The Holocaust did happen. Population control efforts continue. The ‘natural food-only movement is causing starvation and disease around the world as you read. We still suffer from the stoppage of nuclear power development. Millions of people have died from malaria and West Nile virus due to the ban on DDT. Antihumanists abound, and they are killing as efficiently as ever. This book is an eye opener. I highly recommend it.

Ted Gray
The Objective Standard

“It is a book that any Catholic who defends the value of the human person should not only read, but also underline and study. To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy. Zubrin reveals the enemy and documents it in a little more than 300 readable pages. Zubrin is a rocket scientist (literally!). And so his book is driven by data, not emotion.... The pro-life struggle is part of a bigger struggle for the future of humanity, and Zubrin’s book shows how the pieces of the puzzle fit together.”

Connie Marshner
National Catholic Register

Talks about Merchants of Despair

Robert Zubrin is available to give talks about the book. His charts are available here. To arrange a talk, contact Dr. Zubrin at