The author of The World Without Us returns with a powerful investigation into the chances for humanity's future.
In his widely influential bestseller The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal if relieved of humanity's constant pressures. Behind that groundbreaking thought experiment was Weisman's hope that we would be inspired to find a way to add humans back to this vision of a restored, healthy planet- in harmony, not mortal combat, with the rest of nature.
But with a million more of us every 4 Y2 days on a planet that's not getting any bigger, a sustainable human future seems ever more in doubt.
Weisman visits an extraordinary range of the world 's cultures, religions, nationalities, tribes, and political systems to learn what in t heir beliefs, histories, liturgies, or current circumstances might suggest it's in their own best interest to limit their growth. The result is a landmark work of reporting: devastating, urgent, and, ultimately, deeply hopeful.
COUNTDOWN reveals a way to return our planet and our presence on it to balance: a message so compelling that it will change how we see our lives and our destiny.
About the Author
Alan Weisman is the author of several books, including The World Without Us: an international best-seller translated in 34 languages, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the Wenjin Book Prize of the National Library of China. His work has been selected for many anthologies, including Best American Science Writing. An award-winning journalist, his reports have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Discover, Vanity Fair, Wilson Quarterly, Mother Jones, and Orion, and on NPR. A former contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he is a senior radio producer for Homelands Productions. He lives in western Massachusetts.
Praise for Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?…
Praise for Countdown
"Spirited descriptions, a firm grasp of complex material, and a bomb defuser's steady precision make for a riveting read... Weisman's cogent and forthright global inquiry, a major work, delineates how education, women's equality, and family planning can curb poverty, thirst, hunger, and environmental destruction. Rigorous and provoking, Countdown will generate numerous media appearances for Weisman and spur many a debate." -- Booklist (starred review)
"Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Weisman offers heart-rending portrayals of nations already suffering demographic collapse... A realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species." -- Kirkus (starred review)
"Unflinching and ready for anything, Weisman's Countdown tackles the biggest question facing not only us, but every other living thing on earth. How many people can there be on the earth? Written with extraordinary clarity, without all the arm-waving and doomsaying that seems to kill the conversation, his firsthand tour of the globe offers both worst case scenarios and the most hopeful futures we can imagine." -- Craig Childs, author of Apocalyptic Planet and House of Rain
"[Weisman] found vivid, real-world portraits of what overpopulation portends." -- Men's Journal
"Countdown converts globetrotting research into flowing journalism, highlighting a simple truth: there are, quite plainly, too many of us. A world that understands Weisman's words will understand the pressing need for change." -- Bill Streever, author of Cold and Heat
Praise for The World Without Us
"Prodigious and impressive." -- Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation." -- Newsweek
"Extraordinarily farsighted. A beautiful and passionate jeremiad against deforestation, climate change, and pollution." -- Boston Globe
"I don't think I've read a better non-fiction book this year." -- Lev Grossman, TIME Book Critic
"Brilliantly creative. An audacious intellectual adventure. His thought experiment is so intellectually fascinating, so oddly playful, that it escapes categorizing and clichés. It sucks us in with a vision of what is, what has been and what is yet to come. The book is addictive...By appealing not just to our fear and guilt but to our love for our planetary home, The World Without Us makes saving the world as intimate an act as helping a child. It's a trumpet call that sounds from the other end of the universe and from inside us all." -- Salon