Doom and Gloom before it became mainstream
June 9, 2011 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for nonfiction books published prior to 1970 that focus on existential threats to life. I have Silent Spring (DDT), One Dimensional Man (consumerism), and The Population Bomb (population).

I'd like to read books from a different perspective, specifically religious or conservative, regarding threats, be they communism, rock and roll music, drugs and/or alcohol, any aspect of science, etc.
posted by perhapses to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Thomas Malthus's "Essay on the Principle of Population" is one of the classic texts on population growth leading to poverty and famine.
posted by Rufus T. Firefly at 11:18 AM on June 9, 2011

For a neo-Malthusian argument, check out The Limits to Growth (from 1972, just a couple years after your cutoff).
posted by BobbyVan at 11:42 AM on June 9, 2011

Depending on your assumptions about its fictive nature, the Bible.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:42 AM on June 9, 2011

Also from 1972ish, Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:43 AM on June 9, 2011

The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey (1970).
posted by mattbucher at 11:43 AM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Would Future Shock be acceptable? It was published in 1970 but written before that for the most part.
posted by Splunge at 12:01 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (unless you want only nonfiction)

Comic books
posted by Ideefixe at 12:11 PM on June 9, 2011

Oh rats, you said non-fiction. Sorry.
posted by hot soup girl at 12:25 PM on June 9, 2011

I'm not sure this counts as "existential threats to life," but certainly there are works from the eugenicists/scientific racists of the late 19th and early 20th century that predict the doom of civilization due to the nefarious effects of immigration, miscegenation, and other incursions of the inferior brown people of the world. For example, Madison Grant's The Passing of the Great Race and Lothrop Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy were quite well-received in certain circles in their day. In a similar vein is, of course, Mein Kampf.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 1:14 PM on June 9, 2011

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