Re: Who's afraid of Vaclav Smil?

From "Bryan D. Tilt" <>
Date Tue, 30 Nov 2004 13:26:22 -0800 (PST)
In-reply-to <>

I've enjoyed Vaclav's books, and I had a chance to meet him last year when he visited Seattle. He's first and foremost an environmental scientist, and his concern with Chinese culture/history is secondary. He also has real materialist undertones in his work that turn some people off. That said, he's not uninterested in the cultural, political and historical causes that underlie the phenomena that he writes about, but those things are better left to other people.


Bryan D.  Tilt
Department of Anthropology
University of Washington
Box 353100
Seattle, WA 98195-3100

On Tue, 30 Nov 2004 wrote:

> Hey everyone,
> Have a  question for the list regarding Vaclav Smil.  I'm currently reading
> his book "China's Past, China's Future: Energy, Food, Environment." He comes
> highly recommended by Dali Yang and he seems to be cited by everyone, but he
> seems very conservative and not particularly knowledgable of the historical
> events which accompany the phenomena about which he writes.  Wanted to know
> what people thought about him and his work and where he falls in the
> ideological spectrum of current East Asian scholarship.  Any ideas?  Thanks a
> lot.
> Truly,
> Michael Pareles
> University of Chicago