Brandon Jensen's Reviews > Earth Abides

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
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's review
Oct 24, 11

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

I just finished this book. 1/2 of the book reminded me of the series on the History Channel called Life after People. The short of it is that 999 of 1000 people are destroyed by an airborne plague. Almost all the people are gone, but the infrastructure remains intact. The author reasons what would happen in this scenario initially focusing on how the earth would reclaim certain human-maintained things like roads, lights, sewage and forests.

The second portion of the book primarily highlighted how the break down of civilization would break down the social organizations and would revert to a tribal organization not dissimilar to the American Indians.

The one caveat that Stewart makes is if there is an "intellectual survivor." A person of the new generation that can understand the work of civilization and apply it to new circumstances. An individual like this could make the repairs to get electricity working again or fix pipes to keep water running. The future of the society is even more determined by the value of the talented individual.

Whereas in today's society there may be 100s or 1000s of people in a given area, if a disaster happened, those large numbers become very small. If something happens to that one talented person, the society and civilization changes drastically.

Overall, I really enjoyed the intellectual approach to this book. It clearly shows how humans have shaped and carved out the world in an amazing way, but that nature quickly reclaims its own once people aren't around.

My only beef with the approach is how is undermines religion and spirituality as something only for the less educated and superstitious. I believe there is a natural, spiritual light of Christ is all of us that leads to different outcomes than indicated in the book.
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Jack The undermining religion or spiritual matters had a direct affect on the peoploe in the book too. By not keeping religion, by not keeping the stories of American culture, Ish and the others created a world in which the children had to be different. By doing away with religion and the legends, the survivors killed their own culture. And the children created their own new culture.

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