'On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go.' Alan Weisman looks to the future to discover what the world might be like, and how it would change, if humans disappeared right now, for good. In the current age of anxiety ...
'On the day after humans disappear, nature takes over and immediately begins cleaning house - or houses, that is. Cleans them right off the face of the earth. They all go.' Alan Weisman looks to the future to discover what the world might be like, and how it would change, if humans disappeared right now, for good. In the current age of anxiety over our impact on the earth's climate and environment, this timely book offers an intriguing glimpse of what the real legacy of our time on the planet may be. How would the natural world respond if it were suddenly relieved of the burden of humanity? Would the climate return to where it was before we fired up our engines? Could nature ever obliterate all traces of human civilization? How would it undo our largest buildings and public works, and could it reduce our myriad plastics and synthetics to benign, basic elements? And what about architecture and art? What will be our most enduring legacy? This groundbreaking book examines areas of the world that have been abandoned or never occupied by humans to see how they have fared without us and looks beyond to discover whether, and for how long, our largest cities, biggest achievements and most devastating mistakes will last after we are gone. In doing so it wrestles with some of the key concerns of our time and reveals a picture of the future that is both illuminating and terrifying.
New. No dust jacket as issued. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 416 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. What will happen to the earth when we're gone? It's not as easy or straightforward as you think! Check it out!
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I re-bought this book because I'd passed on to others my original one. In an entertaining way, Weisman lays out what would happen if people were no longer around to maintain things -- and catastrophes that would occur because we're gone. It's a great book.
Jan 15, 2009
This book ranks among my favorites of all time in the category of history and facts, because along with a thought-provoking premise, the author drenches the reader with information about all sorts of things we should all know about but mostly didn't have the opportunity to even come across. I would recommend it for any reader old enough to think about the world as his/her responsibility and home.
Aug 2, 2008
Flat out cool
In "The World Without Us," Weisman looks not only at the world without us, but the world before us, the world with us, and the world in spite of us. Discussing our prehistoric rise from the primordial goo and the ways which we began even then to change our surroundings, this is an exceptionally well-rounded look at our history, our present, and our future with regards to humanity's effect on the planet. Some of the most interesting discussions are Weisman's looks at areas of the world which have, for one reason or another, been abruptly vacated by human activity. These areas provide a partial window into the natural processes that will begin to envelop our architecture and whatever else we leave behind. I admit that there were a couple of places where I felt a little lost and/or disinterested; one chapter discusses what will happen to all the world's petrochemical refineries. While this is an important area to look at, it still meant having to read about petrochemical refineries, which are inherently a little dry as subject matter. This is more than compensated for, however, in other fascinating chapters which look at evolution, wildlife, New York City, the DMZ in Korea, and Chernobyl. But overall this is definitely a worthwhile read. It cannot help but spark thought in anyone willing to absorb the information presented so clearly and honestly.
Jan 17, 2008
A Very Compelling Book!
I found out about this book via some very good reviews and year-end best of lists and there's good reason - its excellent. Weisman goes into great detail on what would happen to the earth and the environment if the human race was suddenly to disappear. He goes into very concise detail on what will happen to our infrastructure and very interestingly, what will happen to the planet's wild life. The answers, are compelling and surprising and Weisman lays it all out in a way where you don't have to be a scientist to figure it out. Very vividly Weisman describes how different chemicals and molecules react and break down. Very interestingly, Weisman provides real life examples of what our environment, left untouched, would be like. A+!
Oct 26, 2007
Very informative and a bit scary on what would happen with out us on earth. Need in some places in the book to know a bit of science, but otherwise nice read.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-05-14 If 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. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-27 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). (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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