The World Without Us

Published By: Thomas Dunne Books

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Science

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Reviewed by Diane Snyder

This is a mind-boggling read.

Author Weisman presents the question of what would happen to the world if humans were suddenly gone–as if some disease or disaster had taken all human life but left the flora and fauna untouched.

In the end, he does not give a concise answer to that question but he takes smaller examples of that occurrence. A house, for instance, after it has been abandoned begins to erode, decay and collapse. From there, a village in Africa that is gone because all the people have died from AIDS.
The scope of this book is so varied and so easily understood that having read it, you feel as if you have just had a micro-education on everything. There is much to think about as you read these pages and more often than not you will feel some sadness and regret.

Experts in the fields of agriculture, marine biology, oil drilling, nuclear waste, mortuary science, paleoecology, archaeology and plastics, to list a few, have been interviewed and asked the question of what would happen if there were no human to keep things running.

In order to see forward, we are given a view back in time – to the beginning of life and then the effects that began to occur with the appearance of homo sapiens. Even after humans are gone, their existence would continue to have an affect on the Earth. The world could not return to what it was before due to our waste and refuge. Whether he meant to or not, the author has championed the cause for conservation, ecology and the environment.

In his closing, Alan Weisman writes, “Without us, Earth will abide and endure; without her, however, we could not even be.” (Page 287) After reading this book, you will not look at the world around you in the same way as you did before.

Armchair Interviews says: The World Without Us is an expansion of Weisman’s award-winning essay (Best American Science Writing 2006) “Earth Without People.”

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