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The world without us
Alan Weisman
Adult Nonfiction GF75 .W455 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Asking "What if" questions has been a proven tool leading to key theories and discoveries in science. The imagined scenario presented here offers a provocative perspective on life on Earth and the degree to which human activity has shaped the planet. If every human on Earth suddenly vanished, what would become of this world? Science journalist Weisman ponders numerous questions, e.g., How long would it take for nature to reclaim dense urban areas, like Manhattan Island? What endangered fauna would recover, and what new species might evolve? What would become of humankind's most enduring pollutants, such as plastics, greenhouse gasses, and nuclear wastes? The book's strength lies in its audacious willingness to confront uncomfortable questions while offering glimpses of answers in areas of recent wars, diseases, and ecological disasters. This is neither a warning to human beings to change their errant ways, nor a wishful paean to returning to the Garden of Eden; instead it is a sober, analytical elucidation of the effects of human dominance on this planet, intriguing if not especially comforting. This book should be broadly read and discussed. For all environmental collections. [Library marketing campaign; see Behind the Book profile on p.112.]-Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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