Books: Learning the Three Es

THE POVERTY OF POWER by BARRY COMMONER 314 pages. Knopf. $10.

This book attempts the impossible —but then again, that is the author's trademark. It was Microbiologist Commoner who most convincingly alerted Americans to the environmental crisis (TIME cover, Feb. 2, 1970). It was also Commoner who first suggested—in his 1971 bestseller The Closing Circle—that U.S. industry be restructured to conform to ecology's unbending laws. Specifically, he recommended that polluting products (detergents, for example, or synthetic textiles) be replaced by good old natural ones (soap, or cotton and wool). Just how to accomplish such a major switch in industrial...

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