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The World Without Us
The World Without Us
Author: Alan Weisman
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity's impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us. In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortal...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780312347291
ISBN-10: 0312347294
Publication Date: 7/10/2007
Pages: 304
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 70 ratings
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

ilovebooksanddogs avatar reviewed The World Without Us on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Very informative and enlightening look at how we treat the world we live in and the dangers looming in our future. This book held my attention throughout. Excellent read!!
reviewed The World Without Us on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
From the catalogue: "In A WORLD WITHOUT US, what traces of us would linger, and which would disappear? Weisman writes about which objects from today will vanish; which will become relics and fossils; how our pipes, wires, and cables will be pulverized into an unusual (but mere) line of red rock; why some museums and churches might be the last human creations standing; and how plastic, cast-iron, and radio waves may be our most lasting gifts to the planet.
But of our world currently fare The World Without Us is also about how parts without a human presence (Chernobyl; a Polish old-growth forest; the Korean DMZ) and it looks at the human legacy on Earth, whether fleeting or indelible. Its narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking on an irresistable concept with gravity and a highly-readable touch."

I avoided reading this book because I thought it was another "humans-are-bad-for-the-planet-and-we-should-be-ashamed-we're-even-breathing-its-air" book, but I heard Alan Weisman on a radio interview and was impressed with his enthusiasm for the subject of how fascinating the planet is and, with the hypothetical premise of "what if all the humans disappeared en masse in one day--not disease or war, so there would not be corpses--how would the earth survive (fairly well). No, he doesn't hate humans. He made a point of saying it wasn't a treatise on how we're damaging the planet, but what the effects of our actions are. That may sound contradictory, but his point is that we're humans not monsters and if we see what effect our actions and products we may think and act differently. (If you never hated plastic before, you will now--almost every bit that has ever been produced in the last 60 years since it was found still exists; it won['t go away, although he's sure that there are microbes mutating to be little plastic eaters that way there are microbes to eat just about everything else.) As a recognizable example, he chose New York City. As a lifetime resident I was both appalled and fascinated: The Brooklyn Bridge will last centuries because when it was built no one had built anything like it, had no blueprint, and there were no computers so they packed in lots more stone and steel than would prove necessary. The subways have 24-hour-a-day pumps to keep out the water; when the people disappear there is no one to maintain the pumps and in about 48 hours, the subways flood well above the platform. Wild life from upstate would soon take back Manhattan. He even theorizes over pet dogs and cats--one species would survive, one wouldn't. Then the book expands to discuss current (not hypothetical) situations in other parts of the world. It's gets very intense at times and I found myself needing to switch to fiction or lighter nonfiction, but wanting to go back to it.
Thanos6 avatar reviewed The World Without Us on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This starts out exceedingly well, one of the best "first acts" in any science book I've ever read. Unfortunately, it loses a lot of that energy during the middle and the end, as it seems to forget its original vision and become a largely generic environmental text. However, some of the environmental facts presented are amazing and truly shocking.
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reviewed The World Without Us on + 3501 more book reviews
The book gets your attention and then off you go on what could be a real adventure for our world. Prepare to be whisked off from one location to the next, all around the world, and you'll leave each spot feeling a deeper comprehension of just want nature faces by putting up with us. Strong scientific theories put into beautiful and easy to follow dialogue between you and the author thoroughly explain concepts from nuclear melt downs to the overflowing the Panama Canal. Stunning and highly recommended!
reviewed The World Without Us on + 2 more book reviews
A very well written, informative and interesting book.
reviewed The World Without Us on
Very interesting calculation of what the world would be like if mankind disappeared. All sorts of things are considered--deterioration of cities, regrowth of forests over farmland, resurgence of animal life without man's destruction of habitat, etc. Many other things I'd never considered or thought of. The book is both an entertaining and thought-provoking intellectual exercise.
reviewed The World Without Us on + 5 more book reviews
Interesting book.
reviewed The World Without Us on
Very interesting especially for the history which is the lead in to each description of how the world would turn out.
reviewed The World Without Us on + 66 more book reviews
There is so much to think about in this book, most importantly what we are doing to the earth NOW. Great on a long drive. Well read.


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