Dad Says Two Kids Make A Crowd

Elvis Presley was an only child, also Leonardo da Vinci, Nancy Reagan, Robin Williams, Brooke Shields, Joe Montana, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Updike, Chelsea Clinton, Hans Christian Andersen..." Environmentalist Bill McKibben provides this enigmatic list in Maybe One, the latest in a series of gloomy, worthy, admonitory volumes he began in 1989 with The End of Nature. The new book is an effort to persuade couples, maybe, to consider--the author is excruciatingly tactful--reducing the strain on the earth's resources by having only one child.

The subject is touchy, and McKibben goes on at length to show that only children are, on average,...

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