The World Without Us by Alan Weisman [$24.95]
Who hasn’t gazed around them, now and then, and fantisized the sudden demise of the entire human race? Whether impelled by a very foul mood -- or the simple, apocolyptic speculation that forges every myth, fantasy, and society-binding religion -- virtually every artistic expression has tangled with this concept, and we all know it at a primal level. Ironically, although Weisman will scare you enough to cause loss of sleep, at times, the overwhelming message is hope. One leaves this book with a greater appreciation for the preciousness of this world, and a deep desire to, in one's own little way, leave the Earth in a little bit better shape, before one leaves it for good. Give this to the budding environmentalist, and the one who could use a bit of a nudge in that direction.