Katherine's Reviews > The World Without Us

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
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Jul 19, 09

Read in July, 2009

I really, actively did not like this book, which was so frustrating because it got terrific reviews, and I'd really been looking forward to it. The basic premise is to figure out what the world would look like if human beings disappeared from it tomorrow - it's an interesting idea and many of the stories in the book were well told and intriguing. I actually really liked the sections about what would happen to our buildings and cities over time and some of the glimpses into nature, like the explanation of what's happened in the DMZ since there stopped being people in it or how cats and windows kill so many birds. So why did I dislike this book so much? It had a bunch of problems. The biggest one was that it didn't fit together - at all. The stories seemed strung together without theme or connection or overarching concept (for some, I'm not even sure how they related to the idea of "the world without us"), so for pages I'd be reading about something and have no idea why. On top of that, some of the writing was just laborious or convoluted. I sensed the author - a magazine journalist - was comfortable with a certain length/scope of writing, so for the really interesting topics he tackled, in that kind of format, he shined, but then there would be "pieces" that just went on too long or didn't fit or fell flat. If you're really interested in ecology or the environment, this book has a lot of interest to say, but you have to be willing to plow through to get there.
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