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Prepublication Reviews and Expertly Selected Title Lists

Countdown by Alan Weisman

9780316097758 countdownThis is the latest investigative work from the bestselling author of The World Without Us. For Countdown, Weisman traveled the world interviewing scientists, religious figures, political leaders, and every-day people seeking answers to four questions.

How many people can our planet conceivably hold without capsizing? Can we convince the world’s population to avoid growing from 7 billion to 10 billion people? Do we know what we absolutely can’t live without? How do we design an economy to prosper without constant growth?

Not your typical vacation read, yet somehow so interesting and entertaining you can’t put it down. The result is fascinating. He makes even the most complex information understandable and his interview style is so engaging you often feel like you are part of the conversations.

More than once I found myself reading entire sections to whoever happened to be near me when I hit a particularly interesting statistic or idea. I was prone to saying (in my head and out loud) “Wow! That’s incredible.” Things such as, some cultures or religions encourage having large numbers of children to assure their future even in the midst of dwindling or non-existent resources to sustain them. Or without our medical advances almost half of us over forty would have died before age five. While speaking to 400 Chinese college students the author realizes due to China’s one child rule the audience is all only children. There are discussions on water resources, malnutrition and world hunger, and the need to manage our choices rather than our environment.

The subtitle for Weisman’s new book is Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? Before I read the book I wondered why it was posed as a question, now I know. This is an important, thought provoking, must-have read appropriate for any adult nonfiction collection.

-Roni

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