About the Book
Table of Contents
About the Author
Tour Dates
News & Reviews
Did You Know?
Order the Book


Vanity Fair, April 21, 2008


Washington Post, March 7, 2008

Esquire, February 8, 2008

California Literary Review, November 16, 2007

The Daily Telegraph, November 3, 2007

USA Today, November 2, 2007

The Washington Post, October 21, 2007

Los Angeles Times, October 14, 2007

Open Culture, A conversation with Alan Weisman,
October 3, 2007

The New York Times: Cityroom, October 1, 2007

The New York Times Book Review,
September 2, 2007

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 31, 2007

Powell's Books, Interview with Alan Weisman,
August, 2007

The New York Times, August 13, 2007

The New Yorker, August 13, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 12, 2007

Salon, July 23, 2007

Time, July 2007

Scientific American article:
"An Earth Without People", July 2007


Podcasts & Video

Science Friday.com Interview (Video)

Writer’s Voice with Francesca Rheannon

Quirks and Quarks

NPR: Weekend Edition

NPR: Talk of the Nation/Science Friday

The New York Times Book Review Podcast

SETI Institute Science Radio

The Diane Rehm Show

Worldview, Chicago Public Radio
Listen directly


Living on Earth

As it Happens

The Leonard Lopate Show




"I plucked this book from the stack of Advanced Readers Copies that flood the store, read the first page, and then read the book straight through exclaiming to anyone who would tolerate me -- listen to this, and this, and this!!!!! This book is a thought experiment (what would the world be like if humans disappeared today, raptured up perhaps). A very simple premise that leads this marvelously straightforward, thoughtful, thorough author into parts of the world I hadn't known existed. As well, he deals with exactly what would go first and last in your house. How long it would take for Manhattan to collapse. On and on. It makes for obsessive reading. This is perhaps my favorite book this year. At once the most harrowing and, oddly, comforting book on the environment that I've read in many years."
——Louise Erdrich,author of Love Medicine and of National Book Award finalist The Birchbark House

"prodigious and impressive…”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"The World Without Us" gradually reveals itself to be one of the most satisfying environmental books of recent memory, one devoid of self-righteousness, alarmism or tiresome doomsaying ”
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"I don't think I've read a better non-fiction book this year.”
—Lev Grossman, TIME Book Critic

"This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!"
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future



THE WORLD WITHOUT US is featured in:

The Salt Lake Tribune, November 2, 2007

The Wichita Eagle/Kansas.com, October 15, 2007

The Province, September 2, 2007

Rocky Mountain News, September 1, 2007

Digg.com, September 1, 2007

Seattle Post-Intelligencer.com, August 30, 2007

StephenColbertBooks.com, August 21, 2007

Decatur Book Festival Blog, August 19, 2007

The Indianapolis Star, August 19, 2007

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), August 19, 2007

Akron Beacon Journal, August 19, 2007

CTV, August 18, 2007

The Boston Globe, August 18, 2007

Care2 News Network, August 18, 2007

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 13, 2007

Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, August 13, 2007

Bloomberg, August 13, 2007

The New York Times, August 13, 2007

The New Yorker, August 13, 2007

Toronto Star, August 12, 2007

The Eagle Tribune, August 12, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 12, 2007

Bend Weekly, August 10, 2007

Ottawa Citizen, August 10, 2007

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, August 9, 2007

PopMatters, August 7, 2007

Arizona Daily Star, August 6, 2007

Think Lab, July 31, 2007

Science Blogs: The Cheerful Oncologist, July 29, 2007

The Toronto Star, July 29, 2007

The Washington Post, July 29, 2007

Transcript of Live Discussion between Alan Weisman
and Callum Roberts, July 27, 2007

The Vail Trail, July 25, 2007

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools, July 25, 2007

Birch Bark Books, July 24, 2007

Salon.Com, July 23, 2007  

BirchBarch Books, July 24, 2007

Newsweek, July 23, 2007

TIME, July 23, 2007, 2007

SeekersDigest.com, July 22, 2007

The Globe and Mail, July 21, 2007   

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 19, 2007

Marginal Revolution, July 19, 2007

Very Short List, July 18, 2007

Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group Blog:
“This Week’s Top 10”, July 16, 2007

Book of Joe, July 16, 2007

Mental Floss Magazine, July 16, 2007

Boston Globe, July 15, 2007

“Nerdworld”, TIME Book Critic Lev Grossman’s Blog, July 10, 2007

Plenty Magazine, July 2007: Interview and a Review

Salon, July 23, 2007

Newsweek, July 23, 2007

Time, July 2007

Scientific American article "An Earth Without People", July 2007

Leonard Lopate Show, July 10, 2007

JournalNow.com, online partner of Winston-Salem Journal, July 9, 2007

Philadelphia Inquirer, July 9, 2007

The Enquirer, July 9, 2007

The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2007

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Podcasts & Videos

Living on Earth, wbur.org, Boston, August 10, 2007

Marketplace, July 31, 2007

“Your Call” Radio Podcast, 91.7 KALW-FM in San Francisco, July 24, 2007

“Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders”, WPR, Wisconsin, July 16, 2007

Michael Krasny, KQED Radio, San Francisco, July 23, 2007

Earth & Sky, July 23, 2007

“Weekday” with Steve Scher, Puget Sound
Public Radio,
KUOW, 94.9, July 19, 2007

NPR, “My Cancer” Weekly Podcast by Leroy Sievers, July 16, 2007

Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, July 10, 2007

“As it Happens” with Barbara Budd and Carol Off, CBC Radio One, June 28, 2007

Scientific American 60-Second Podcast and Science Talk, June 26, 2007

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"prodigious and impressive…”
Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"The World Without Us" gradually reveals itself to be one of the most satisfying environmental books of recent memory, one devoid of self-righteousness, alarmism or tiresome doomsaying ”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

[No] “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story…is more audacious or interesting than Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us.”
—Boston Globe

"I don't think I've read a better non-fiction book this year.”
Lev Grossman, TIME Book Critic

"This is one of the grandest thought experiments of our time, a tremendous feat of imaginative reporting!"
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and The Durable Future

“The imaginative power of The World Without Us is compulsive and nearly hypnotic--make sure you have time to be kidnapped into Alan Weisman’s alternative world before you sit down with the book, because you won’t soon return. This is a text that has a chance to change people, and so make a real difference for the planet.”
—Charles Wohlforth, author of L.A. Times Book Prize-winning The Whale and the Supercomputer

"A refreshing, and oddly hopeful, look at the fate of the environment."

“Alan Weisman offers us a sketch of where we stand as a species that is both illuminating and terrifying. His tone is conversational and his affection for both Earth and humanity transparent.”
—Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

"Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure. His thought experiment is so intellectually fascinating, so oddly playful, that it escapes categorizing and clichés. It sucks us in with a vision of what is, what has been and what is yet to come. The book is addictive…By appealing not just to our fear and guilt but to our love for our planetary home, The World Without Us makes saving the world as intimate an act as helping a child. It’s a trumpet call that sounds from the other end of the universe and from inside us all."

"Extraordinarily farsighted. A beautiful and passionate jeremiad against deforestation, climate change, and pollution."
Boston Globe

“An exacting account of the processes by which things fall apart. The scope is breathtaking...the clarity and lyricism of the writing itself left me with repeated gasps of recognition about the human condition. I believe it will be a classic.”
—Dennis Covington, author of National Book Award finalist Salvation on Sand Mountain

"…in his provocative new book, The World Without Us, Alan Weisman adds a dash of fiction to his science to address a despairing problem: the planet’s health."
U.S. News & World Report

"Grandly entertaining."

"Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation.”

"One of the most ambitious ‘thought experiments’ ever."
The Cincinnati Enquirer 

"The book boasts an amazingly imaginative conceit that manages to tap into underlying fears and subtly inspire us to consider our interaction with the planet."
The Washington Post 

"As fascinating as it is surprising."

“Fascinating, mordant, deeply intelligent, and beautifully written, The World Without Us depicts the spectacle of humanity’s impact on the planet Earth in tragically poignant terms that go far beyond the dry dictates of science. This is a very important book for a species playing games with its own destiny.”
—James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency

"An astonishing mass of reportage that envisions a world suddenly bereft of humans."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


"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."

BOOKLIST (Starred)

"Given the burgeoning human population and the phenomenal reach of our technologies, humankind has literally become a force of nature. We are inadvertently changing the climate; altering, polluting, and eradicating ecosystems; and driving evolution as other organisms struggle to adapt to a new human-made world. So what would happen if humankind suddenly vanished? Journalist Weisman, author of Echo in My Blood (1999), traveled the world to consult with experts and visit key sites, and his findings are arresting to say the least. He learned that without constant vigilance, New York's subways would immediately flood, and Houston's complex "petroscape" would spectacularly self-destruct. Weisman visits an abandoned resort on the coast of Cyprus and marvels over nature's ready reclamation. Marine biologists share sobering information about the staggering amount of plastic particles in ocean waters as well as vast floating islands of trash. Weisman is a thoroughly engaging and clarion writer fueled by curiosity and determined to cast light rather than spread despair. His superbly well researched and skillfully crafted stop-you-in-your-tracks report stresses the underappreciated fact that humankind's actions create a ripple effect across the web of life. As for the question of what would endure in our absence, Weisman lists a "redesigned atmosphere," astronomical amounts of plastic and automobile tires, nuclear waste and other inorganic poisons, and, eerily, the radio waves that will carry our television broadcasts through the universe for all time."


"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."

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