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The World Without Us
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Some examples of what would happen:
· One year: Several more billions birds will live when airplane warning lights cease blinking.
· Twenty years: The water-soaked steel columns that support the street above New York's East Side would corrode and buckle. As Lexington Avenue caves in, it becomes a river.
· 100,000 years: CO2 will be back to pre-human levels (or it might take longer).
· Forever: Our radio waves, fragmented as they may be, will still be going out.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A penetrating take on how our planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human presence
Weisman, an award-winning journalist, offers listeners a penetrating--and sometimes terrifying--take on how the planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human presence. Unabridged. 8 CDs.
Discover the impact of the human imprint in the world without us. Take us off the earth and what traces of us would linger, and which would disappear? Weisman explains 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 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, whether fleeting or indelible. It’s narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking on an irresistible concept with gravity and accessible touch.
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.
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