The World Without Us
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The World Without Us

4.0 61
by Alan Weisman
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0312347294

ISBN-13: 9780312347291

Pub. Date: 07/10/2007

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

A penetrating, page-turning tour of a post-human Earth

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

Overview

A penetrating, page-turning tour of a post-human Earth

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 immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
The World Without Us reveals how, just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations, and how, as the world's cities crumble, asphalt jungles would give way to real ones. It describes the distinct ways that organic and chemically treated farms would revert to wild, how billions more birds would flourish, and how cockroaches in unheated cities would perish without us. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dali Lama, and paleontologists---who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna like giant sloths that stood taller than mammoths---Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.
From places already devoid of humans (a last fragment of primeval European forest; the Korean DMZ; Chernobyl), Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing. As he shows which human devastations are indelible, and which examples of our highest art and culture would endure longest, Weisman's narrative ultimately drives toward a radical but persuasive solution that needn't depend on our demise. It is narrative nonfiction at its finest, and in posing an irresistible concept with both gravity and a highly readable touch, it looks deeply at our effects on the planet in a way that no other book has.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312347291
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/10/2007
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Prelude: A Monkey Koan,
PART I,
1 A Lingering Scent of Eden,
2 Unbuilding Our Home,
3 The City Without Us,
4 The World Just Before Us,
5 The Lost Menagerie,
6 The African Paradox,
PART II,
7 What Falls Apart,
8 What Lasts,
9 Polymers Are Forever,
10 The Petro Patch,
11 The World Without Farms,
PART III,
12 The Fate of Ancient and Modern Wonders of the World,
13 The World Without War,
14 Wings Without Us,
15 Hot Legacy,
16 Our Geologic Record,
PART IV,
17 Where Do We Go from Here?,
18 Art Beyond Us,
19 The Sea Cradle,
Coda: Our Earth, Our Souls,
Acknowledgments,
Select Bibliography,
Index,

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The World Without Us 4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 61 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This imaginative depiction of the world without human beings is truly astounding! not only do we receive brief history of man, but also what history would be like without man. one of the most enthralling and thought provoking books I have ever read. I truly could not put it down. The imagery used creates a world never thought of before. My respect for nature has always been high, but Weisman opened my eyes to things I had never imagined or thought possible. truly remarkable, a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very well written. The author wrote very well in specific detail about many of the things that humans have impacted on the earth such as animals, the environment, and many more. He discusses what would happen to the world if humans were to suddenly disappear and what impact we would leave on the world such as heavy metals in the soil, nuclear waste and more. It was a very good book and i encourage others to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The synopsis says: A penetrating take on how our planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human presence. Everyone focuses on the overt theme...what happens if we all should disappear suddenly. Weisman's research is thorough and fascinating, his writing concise and illustrative. BUT by illustrating what happens to our world AFTER we have disappeared, Weisman clearly and devastatingly outlines just how negative human impact has been on the earth. In this, the book is one of the most persuasive tomes on the environment and environmentalism I've yet to read. It's a short leap, in my mind, from our current predicament to the potential solution proposed in the last few pages. Sadly, I think humans won't be disciplined enough to stick to the recommendation of one woman - one child.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a very good book and explains not only the things we know about but also things we didnt know about. P.S. the meaning of the book is to show what things would be like without man-kind. and we are poisoning mother Earth! hence Global Warming- its our fault whether people want to admit it or not. You dont have to hate the human race to understand that human kind is the major reason why other species are dying, the climate is changing, and people are dying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be the most convincing contemporary book about the environment since the 1960's. It's frightening yet somehow beautiful. We have a LOT to think about as human beings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good read. Explains how the world would be like without us now and how it would be if we never existed. Many interesting chapters and facts much this book awesome. A Must Read for those you want to learn more about this earth and its processes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be honest, before I purchased this book, I thought it would be a more step by step analysis of how long it would take for structures to fall apart and details such as how many pets would die within our vacant houses, etc. The book has a much more vast approach detailing all types of environments, species and human artifacts. It is more philosophical, fact filled and beautiful than I expected. The author does illuminate how subways, roads ,and houses will fare along with how nature will respond to our absence. That said, the chapters on plastics, toxins and nuclear waste were very disturbing. I've just finished reading this powerful work and am quite depressed regarding our past and present activities. Mr. Wiseman however ends with a positive note and as he is obviously more knowledgeable than myself, I'll rely on his prognosis. If you are at all interested in learning about human impact upon the earth and its creatures, you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thespasticone More than 1 year ago
Only half-way done, and a great book. I didn't realize it was quite so much a "message" book, but Weisman is subtle enough with the message to not lose the storyline or the hook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When first buying the book The World Without Us I was very intrigued because the environment impact humans have had on the Earth is immense and has a lot to do with the class I purchased it for, AP Environmental science. The cover itself fascinated me as well and I found it captivating. While reading this book I found myself lost in the different topics and quick change from ideas. I found this book to be rather advanced for my knowledge and seemed to be focused more on how humans construct things as opposed to recovery of wildlife and the Earth itself. Although there was many extremely interesting facts and statistics in regard to how the Earth would recover if suddenly all human life have failed to exist most of the book did not follow what, I personally, was looking for. I think partially since this book had received such high reviews from reliable sources, spent 9 weeks in the top ten NY Best Seller&rsquo;s List, I had expectations that it did not fill. Weisman&rsquo;s exploration of the hypothetical extinction of humans is not explored as thoroughly as I would&rsquo;ve liked. There was a lot of information about plastic, nuclear waste, effects of radiation and all of the negative things humans do but obviously was already aware of these. The organization used to put together the chapters and Parts in the book had me very lost, when looking at the table of contents I thought it all would&rsquo;ve flowed fluidly and fit together which was not the case. Overall the book was not what I was looking for and I only found certain parts of it to fit what I was. It definitely was chalk full of relevant information just not necessarily relevant to what I wanted to know. I would give this book a 2.5/5 or 3 but I think other people may like it a lot more than I did especially if they could pay attention to what I would consider a dry book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There's no real information here, nothing about the complex maintenance necessary to human-built civilization, and no verifiable detail about how the rest of the life on this planet would take over if all humans suddenly just disappeared. It's clearly a progressive's fear fantasy in which the author is trying to convince us to reduce our lives so that other (non-human) life has more resources.
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