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The World Without Us

Cover of The World Without Us

The World Without Us

Borrow Borrow

Discover the impact of the human footprint in The World Without Us. Take us off the Earth and what traces of us would linger? And which would disappear? Alan Weisman writes about which objects from today would vanish without us; how our pipes, wires, and cables would be pulverized into an unusual (but mere) line of red rock; why some museums and churches might be the last human creations standing; how rats and roaches would struggle without us; and how plastic, cast-iron, and radio waves may be our most lasting gifts to the planet. But The World Without Us is also about how parts of our world currently fare without a human presence (Chernobyl; a Polish old-growth forest, the Korean DMZ) and it looks at the human legacy on Earth, both fleeting and indelible. It's narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking an irresistible concept with gravity and a highly readable touch.

Discover the impact of the human footprint in The World Without Us. Take us off the Earth and what traces of us would linger? And which would disappear? Alan Weisman writes about which objects from today would vanish without us; how our pipes, wires, and cables would be pulverized into an unusual (but mere) line of red rock; why some museums and churches might be the last human creations standing; how rats and roaches would struggle without us; and how plastic, cast-iron, and radio waves may be our most lasting gifts to the planet. But The World Without Us is also about how parts of our world currently fare without a human presence (Chernobyl; a Polish old-growth forest, the Korean DMZ) and it looks at the human legacy on Earth, both fleeting and indelible. It's narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking an irresistible concept with gravity and a highly readable touch.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Alan Weisman is an award-winning journalist whose reports have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Discover, on NPR, and more. He has been a contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times Magazine and is Associate Professor in Journalism and Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine It's almost disturbing that this book is so interesting. Weisman examines what the Earth would be like if there were no more humans. Assuming some sort of apocalypse that wipes us from the menu of mammals, he takes the long view, describing how our remnants would crumble and fade away over time--in some cases a very long time. Narrator Adam Grupper enhances this fascinating perspective through his impeccable reading, which is both sincere and balanced. Never veering into sensationalism, always objective and phlegmatic, Grupper takes what could be a depressing topic and makes it a book you just can't stop listening to. This combination of science, history, and futurology teaches us much about who we are and what we will leave behind. K.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 14, 2007
    I
    f a virulent virus—or even the Rapture—depopulated Earth overnight, how long before all trace of humankind vanished? That's the provocative, and occasionally puckish, question posed by Weisman (An Echo in My Blood
    ) in this imaginative hybrid of solid science reporting and morbid speculation. Days after our disappearance, pumps keeping Manhattan's subways dry would fail, tunnels would flood, soil under streets would sluice away and the foundations of towering skyscrapers built to last for centuries would start to crumble. At the other end of the chronological spectrum, anything made of bronze might survive in recognizable form for millions of years—along with one billion pounds of degraded but almost indestructible plastics manufactured since the mid-20th century. Meanwhile, land freed from mankind's environmentally poisonous footprint would quickly reconstitute itself, as in Chernobyl, where animal life has returned after 1986's deadly radiation leak, and in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, a refuge since 1953 for the almost-extinct goral mountain goat and Amur leopard. From a patch of primeval forest in Poland to monumental underground villages in Turkey, Weisman's enthralling tour of the world of tomorrow explores what little will remain of ancient times while anticipating, often poetically, what a planet without us would be like.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 27, 2007
    Because of the scientific terminology and the interlinked data amassed bit by bit, this is not an easy read for narrator or lay listener. But it's a fascinating book, and Grupper handles it well. Grupper's careful narration brings to life Weisman's judicious organization, unambiguous grammatical structure and vivid descriptions of what would become of land, sea, fish, flora and fauna should humans disappear from the face of the earth. Weisman explains the earth's capacity for self-healing. Unchecked by human intervention, a city like New York would flood within days, its buildings and infrastructure would collapse, and soon the city would revert to its original ecosystem. But the message of the book is our legacy to the universe: “Every bit of plastic manufactured over the last 80 years or so still remains somewhere in the environment.” Weisman and Grupper convert abstract environmental concepts into concrete ideas. Broadly and meticulously researched, finely interwoven journalism and imaginative projection, the book is an utterly convincing call to action. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's/Dunne hardcover (Reviews, May 14).

  • Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!
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    Macmillan Audio
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The World Without Us
The World Without Us
Alan Weisman
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