Professor's book earning year-end praise

Alan Weisman, a laureate associate professor in the UA Department of Journalism, has received a slew of year-end honors for his bestselling book The World Without Us.

Time magazine has chosen Weisman's book, which looks at how the planet would respond if humans suddenly disappeared, its number one non-fiction book of the year.

"What starts as a morbid parlor game," writes critic Lev Grossman for the issue hitting newsstands Dec. 24, "becomes a mesmerizing and grandly entertaining meditation on how horrifically humanity has managed to perturb our little planet, and with what wonderful blithe resilience said planet will shrug off all our works once we're gone."

Critic Laura Miller of Salon.com picked The World Without Us as one of Salon's top five non-fiction reads for 2007.

Miller writes: "To make our list, a book has to keep us up late and be the first thing we reach for when we open our eyes in the morning. These are the books we thought about on the way to work and rushed through our dinner dates to get back to at night, the books we blocked out whole weekends to read and propped up next to our bowls of breakfast cereal."

The National Book Critics Circle blog has made The World Without Us a number two "Best Selection" in its inaugural list. The book, reads the review, is "Deserving of the lively conversation it will inspire, rich with spectacular detail."

And the online bookseller Amazon.com ranked The World Without Us as number four in its Top 100 books of 2007 by the Amazon Editors. Its Canadian site (www.amazon.ca) picked Weisman's book as its number one non-fiction book of the year.

Weisman joined the UA in 2003 and leads the journalism department's interdisciplinary international journalism program. Each spring semester, he takes a group of UA students to Latin America to report on cultural and political issues in the region. In spring 2008 he will lead a group to Argentina to examine environmental issues.

The World Without Us has been on The New York Times bestseller list since late July. It has received praise and reviews from media outlets ranging from the Los Angeles Times to "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

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