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The Man Who Fed The World by Leon Hesser

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Victoria Rackley

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of The Man Who Fed The World by Leon Hesser

The Man Who Fed The World by Leon Hesser
Author Background
Leon Hesser went from being an Indiana farm boy during the Great Depressionhe actually operated his own farm business to the world where he helped alleviate global hunger. Then, in his retirement years, he started writing books.

From 1966 to 1973, Leon was Foreign Service Officer in Pakistan, where he directed U.S. programs to help increase food production in that hungry nation; he collaborated with Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug to help start the Green Revolution in South Asia. From Pakistan, he went to State Department in Washington DC where he directed worldwide programs to increase food production in developing countries. Following early retirement from State Department, he consulted in twenty countries of Asia, Africa and the former Soviet Union.

He earned a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1962, retired in 2000 to sunny Naples, Florida, where he has written three books (see bibliography) and is currently writing ZigZag Pass: Memoir of a Teenage Soldier in World War II. .
Plot Sequence
Rising Action- Borlaug going to college studying Plant Pathology and Forestry, competing on the wrestling team and finally earning a PhD at the University of Minnesota. He then became a Agriculture Scientist and Plant Breeder. He joined a Cooperative Wheat Research Production Program co-funded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and the Mexican government. Corn still made up the vast majority of Mexico’s cereal production, even though wheat had been introduced hundreds of years earlier by Spanish settlers. The conflict was that wheat varieties adapted to Mexican soil and climatic conditions were able to catch numerous diseases. Borlaug’s team bred various domestic and foreign wheat varieties together to generate cultivars that would resist most of these diseases, then crossed those long-stem wheat varieties with a semi-dwarf wheat variety from Japan in order to produce an adapted variety with stems that were short and strong enough to hold up the better producing seed heads.


Plot Sequence
Climax- Perhaps Borlaug’s biggest contribution was the development of an accelerated breeding schedule he called “shuttle breeding,” which let him improve the genetic composition of his wheat lines twice as quickly as with normal breeding.

Falling Action- Despite opposition from fellow plant breeders who insisted this couldn’t be done, Borlaug and his team would grow one generation of plants at the higher elevations around Mexico City during the summer, and then grow a second generation at sea level some 700 miles to the north near the Sonoran coast during the winter. Not only did shuttle breeding work, by doubling the progress of Borlaug’s breeding schedule, it also had the fortunate, but unintended side effect of producing wheat strains that were not sensitive the amount of light received each day, as nearly all other plant breeds are.

Resolution- In just four years, Mexico went from importing almost all the wheat its people consumed to being self-sufficient in wheat production. Borlaug continued working in Mexico, but by the 1960s, his reputation had spread around the world. He was called on first to travel to India and Pakistan to help improve wheat production there. And after a stunning success, he went on to the Philippines and China, where his innovative breeding methods were used to raise yields in the rice varieties consumed by roughly half the world’s population.
Vocabulary/Quotes
'' Give the best that god gave you. If you dont bother to do that then dont bother to compete.'' - David Bartelma

'' My work to combat hunger started in Mexico with the rockefeller foundation. Inspired by Henry Wallace, it was the first ever attempt to help food deficit nations by foreign organizations'' Norman Borlaug

Gratitude- the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.


Remarkable- worthy of notice or attention.


Enigma- a person of puzzling or contradictory character.

Allusions
I would rather take care of stomaches of the living than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments.

I proceeded to flunk the entrance exam beautifully.
Review
I think this book is a good book to read if your trying to pursue a dream. This book gives readers an example of how you can come from a small town and accompish anything possible. The book has taught me that anything is possible as long as you have paitence and beliefs in yourself.
Summary
The book is about Norman Borlaug who becomes a plant breeder and finds a new way to prevent diseases in wheat, and soon his invention or idea spreads worldwide.
Full transcript