Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

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

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  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

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Sicilian Inheritance
    The Sicilian Inheritance
    by Jo Piazza
    Sara Marsala is going through a rough patch, to say the least. In the process of divorcing from her ...
  • Book Jacket: The Light Eaters
    The Light Eaters
    by Zoë Schlanger
    The human race is completely dependent on plants. Many people, however, give little thought to ...
  • Book Jacket: Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    by J Drew Lanham
    As a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant, and a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master ...
  • Book Jacket: Glorious Exploits
    Glorious Exploits
    by Ferdia Lennon
    Lampo and Gelon are two unemployed potters in their thirties whose lives are spent between their ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The Familiar
by Leigh Bardugo
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo comes a spellbinding novel set in the Spanish Golden Age.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Stolen Child
    by Ann Hood

    An unlikely duo ventures through France and Italy to solve the mystery of a child’s fate.

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.



Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

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.