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'The World Without Us'

Alan Weisman imagines all the people…gone.

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Alan Weisman's engrossing depiction of what would happen to the planet if humans vanished overnight is the kind of sensationalism we love—there's plenty of context on ecology, global warming, and our own evolutionary past. But you can be forgiven for skipping to the vivid chapter on New York. Roaches and rats? Dead within years. The subways? Within decades, they're rivers. Nothing will last as long as you think it will—not even industrial pollution.music, folk art, and dreams deferred.

The World Without Us
By Alan Weisman; Thomas Dunne Books; $24.95


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