Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The World Without Us

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The World Without Us

by Alan Weisman

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman X
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2007, 336 pages

    Aug 2008, 368 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

This article relates to The World Without Us

Print Review

Did you know?

  • Oil based plastic does not simply go away; according to The World Without Us, almost every piece of plastic made is still here with us today, whether it be polystyrene, viscose, vinyl, PVC, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, saran wrap or acrylic - virtually every plastic bag, every McDonald's Happy Meal toy, every plastic candy wrapper and every plastic water bottle; not to mention the plastic interior or exterior of virtually every modern device from cars to fridges. As you go about your business today, count how many times you come across plastic that you either throw away immediately, such as the wrappings on your groceries, or that will be disposed of within a decade - and then multiple by billions of people consuming plastics for decades!

  • The world's largest trash heap is in the Pacific Ocean in an area called the North Pacific Gyre, also known as the Garbage Patch. Here, winds traveling in a gigantic circular pattern concentrate floating trash, almost entirely plastics, into an area bigger than Texas. The concentration of trash is approximately 3,340,000 pieces/km² on the surface - and nobody knows how much below. This has been calculated at six kilos of plastic for every kilo of naturally occurring plankton.

  • The fertilizer-choked dead zone at the mouth of the Mississippi is larger than New Jersey.

  • The reason that tires don't degrade is that they're one enormous molecule due to the process of vulcanization invented by Charles Goodyear that ties long rubber polymer chains together with short strands of sulfur atoms. Goodyear discovered the process by chance when he accidentally dropped some natural rubber mixed with sulfur on a hot stove - the result was a strengthened rubber that did not melt, freeze or crack.

  • According to The World Without Us, in North America and Europe, the numbers of many bird species have fallen by two-thirds since 1975. At least half a billion birds die each year as a result of colliding fatally with aircraft warning towers and cell phone towers. Many others are electrocuted by power lines. Habitat destruction in tropical America and Africa has reduced roosting spots, lowering the birth rate; and acid rain and insecticides have killed many more. In the USA, about 80 million birds are killed by cars each year and as many as 1 billion are killed flying into glass windows. Meanwhile, it is estimated that domestic cats kill upwards of 219 million birds each year - and that's just in State of Wisconsin!

  • If humans disappear, one of the longest lasting monuments to humanity will be Mount Rushmore - vestiges of the Presidents' likenesses, including that of Roosevelt, will be visible for the next 7 million years - a lot longer than Roosevelt's legacy, the Panama Canal, which without human intervention, would be reclaimed by nature in a matter of a few years.

Interesting Links

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more

Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Atomic Anna
    Atomic Anna
    by Rachel Barenbaum
    If you had the opportunity to prevent one of the world's most horrific disasters, would you? What if...
  • Book Jacket: The Colony
    The Colony
    by Audrey Magee
    The Colony opens with Mr Lloyd, a London artist, being transported to a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) ...
  • Book Jacket: The Return of Faraz Ali
    The Return of Faraz Ali
    by Aamina Ahmad
    In Aamina Ahmad's debut, The Return of Faraz Ali, the eponymous character is a police inspector in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wonders
    The Wonders
    by Elena Medel
    Spanish poet Elena Medel's debut novel The Wonders (translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead) ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Book Woman's Daughter
by Kim Michele Richardson
A mesmerizing and beautifully rendered tale of strong women, bravery, and resilience.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Immortal King Rao
    by Vauhini Vara

    A resonant debut novel obliterating the boundaries between literary and speculative fiction, the historic and the dystopian.

  • Book Jacket

    Fly Girl
    by Ann Hood

    "Sheer pleasure. A hilarious and often moving look back at...a young woman's coming of age."
    —Dennis Lehane

Who Said...

Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

T S's T Limit

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.