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Publisher's Summary

In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and vanish without human presence; which everyday items may become immortalized as fossils; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, and man-made molecules may be our lasting gifts to the universe. Just days after humans disappear, floods in New York's subways would start eroding the city's foundations and the world's cities would crumble, asphalt jungles giving way to real ones. Drawing on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, art conservators, zoologists, oil refiners, marine biologists, astrophysicists, religious leaders from rabbis to the Dalai Lama, and paleontologists, who describe a prehuman world inhabited by megafauna (like giants sloths that stood taller than mammoths), Weisman illustrates what the planet might be like today, if not for us.
Weisman reveals Earth's tremendous capacity for self-healing and shows which human devastations are indelible and what of our highest art and culture would endure longest. Ultimately reaching a radical but persuasive solution to our planet's problems - one that needn't depend on our demise - this is narrative nonfiction at its finest, taking on an irresistible concept with gravity but a highly accessible touch.
©2007 Alan Weisman (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
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Critic Reviews

"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." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Chris on 08-23-07

mixed feelings

I found this book to be entertaining and thought provoking at times, yet also vague and not focused at others. All considered, the book wasn't the objective science-based vision of the future
that I expected, but more a meandering commentary on environmental injustices since the industrial revolution. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't looking for cheery utopian visions here. I would probably save my download credit if I could go back, and see what my world without it would be like. A good abridgement skillfully edited might change my mind though...

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ellen on 03-02-09

Couldn't put it down!

If you're a dog lover don't read this. No I take it back--read it and weep. The best thing about this book is it doesn't celebrate the idea of people being gone and the planet "recovering." It laments this possibility. Some people think environmentalists are environmentalists because they hate people. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's for future generations. This book is a sobering, not gleeful, look at what could happen. The movie "I Am Legend" showed visually exactly what this book predicts.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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