The World Without Us

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Monday August 20, 2007.

The World Without Us Author(s): Alan Weisman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN: 0312347294
Amazon | Shelfari
I finished this one today. I’m a pretty slow reader, so it took me a bit longer than I wanted it to, but it was worth the time. For those that don’t know, Alan Weisman wrote the book to explore what the world would be like if humans suddenly disappeared. It really doesn’t matter how they disappeared; just that they did and how would the world respond in such a situation.

Here is what I posted on Shelfari:

Pretty good book. In a book that I figured would strictly focus on a bunch of scenarios, I learned as much about the way the world works right now and did in the past as I possibly could have. And that’s good. Because Weisman used those things to make the case for his scenarios. Had he not done so, all of us would have been sitting around criticizing him for “making stuff up.” He presented possibilities for how the world would change once we were gone, but he did so only after explaining what was there before, what we did to change that, and whether what we did would be permanent or not. Well done.

What Weisman does in the book is show us why, exactly, he can make a case for what will happen in our absence. It’s well done. There are no assumptions for how the earth operates. He discusses the basics of geology while telling you how rocks form and concrete will eventually become a part of the earth.

It’s fascinating. I expected a little bit of preaching about how we’re killing the planet. He does talk with the founder of the Gaia theory, Dr. James Lovelock, for the book and quoted him several times, but the preaching isn’t there. There are also quotes from plenty of scientists and even some religious leaders. It seems like reasonable discussion of what is actually going on with the world and how the effects of what we currently do will last once we’re gone.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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