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The Illustrated Brief History of Time, Updated and Expanded Edition Hardcover – October 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Upd Sub edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553103741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553103748
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A new edition?with pictures?for those who couldn't fathom the original.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"He can explain the complexities of cosmological physics with an engaging combination of clarity and wit—His is a brain of extraordinary power."—New York Review of Books

"Hawking has succeeded in writing two intertwined books, one a highly readable and popular account of the role of time in physics, the other an in-depth review—What makes all this so interesting is Hawking's ability to convoy the essential physics in words alone."—Physics Today

"In his first work of popular science, Stephen Hawking proves himself to be a master of vivid clarity—It's difficult to think of anyone else living who could have put these mathematically formidable subjects more clearly."—Chicago Tribune

"A masterful summary of what physicists now think the world is made of and how it got that way."—Wall Street journal

"This book marries a child's wonder to a genius's intellect. We journey into Hawking's universe while marvelling at his mind."—Sunday Times, London

"The famous theoretical physicist best known for his inquiries into the nature of black holes—turns out to be as skilled a popular writer as he is a mathematician—The result is probably the best single book on astrophysics for the common reader. Thank you, Dr. Hawking!"—Booklist

"Lively and provocative—Hawking clearly possesses a natural teacher's gift—easy, good-natured humor and an ability to illustrate highly complex propositions with analogies plucked from daily life."—New York Times

"Charming and lucid—gives the general reader an opportunity to learn some deep science directly from the source—[A book of] sunny brilliance."—New Yorker

More About the Author

Stephen Hawking's ability to make science understandable and compelling to a lay audience was established with the publication of his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 languages. Hawking has authored or participated in the creation of numerous other popular science books, including The Universe in a Nutshell, A Briefer History of Time, On the Shoulders of Giants, The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants, and George's Secret Key to the Universe.

Customer Reviews

Please read this amazing book!!!
This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the cosmology.
It is very easy to read and understand (thanks to Hawking's lighter tone of writing).
Chris Meichtry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

199 of 205 people found the following review helpful By A. Boltz on June 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking is an established scientific genius, but this book establishes him as a brilliant writer - an extremely rare, yet valuable combination. A point he brings to attention is that it had been possible for the philosophers of ancient times to master practically all the knowledge of academia. Today, however, only a handful of extremely specialized scientists understand the latest ideas in their fields. While men of ancient times could easily understand the latest scientific ideas, people today are lost. Enter "A Brief History of Time." This book helps fill in that gap between an average person's understanding and the highly specialized scientists' knowledge.
This book covers ideas that are profound and affect everyone. It explains theories that concern the creation of the universe, time travel, light-speed travel, and many more topics. Imagine actually having some grasp of Einstein's general relativity. Ever heard of string theory? How might time travel actually be possible? What are these black holes of which I've heard? This book packs an incredible amount of information into its 248 pages, yet somehow is still easily read - this is the true marvel of this book.
The illustrated version is worth the extra money. It contains many updates and additions throughout the book by Hawking (including the time travel chapter!). Every (and I mean every) concept throughout the book is accompanied by at least one illustration - think about it: 240 color illustrations with only 248 pages!
Towards the middle of the book, some of the concepts get more complex (when he really gets into the details of sub-atomic particles). However, as a recent high school graduate, I can say with some level of certainty that the average person can understand 90% of this book - and those parts are the most interesting! It will change the way you look at the universe.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By F. G. Hamer on May 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read the original version of 'A Brief History of Time' back in 1988. At the time, Hawking was into ground-breaking territory. The fact that his theories have gained such universal acceptance and that many of them have since been proved is evidence of the brilliance of the mind that thought through the logic.
In this updated version, Hawking moves from time travel to black holes to general relativity, quantum mechanics and even string theory, he never fails to captivate and entrance, even though some of the theories are difficult to grasp.
The sections devoted to black holes and time travel are, in my view, the most interesting... putting a human slant of a highly theorical subject. With the addition of hundreds of amazing illustrations and photos, Hawking has made his revised book extremely readable and colorful, both comprehensive and comprehendable, as one reviewer put it.
An excellent introduction to relativity, big bang, and anything else you might have scratched your head about!
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Brian Tung on March 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking is perhaps the pre-eminent physicist of the last half of the 20th century. No, strike the "perhaps"; there should be no doubt. His contributions to cosmology and stellar evolution alone are enough to guarantee him an honored space in the scientific pantheon.
There aren't many who could have written this book, and that Hawking has done it in the grips of a stable but still cruel malady, Lou Gehrig's disease, is a testament to his will and mounting intellect. He almost manages to carry it off.
Probably this is no fault of his own. The subject matter is, in the hands of ordinary physicists, incredibly abstruse stuff. Scientific prose is fragile; one has to handle it carefully and reread it numerous times even to begin to understand it--and that only if one is an expert in the field. To try to translate that into ordinary English, so that we mortals might understand--that is when scientific writing becomes the calling of saints.
Add onto this task the incredible popularity of this book (it, or Cosmos, I forget which, is the best-selling non-religious book of all time) the first time it was published, and you can get a feeling for what Hawking was up against. He isn't just writing for the Scientific American crowd, but for the Parade crowd and the People crowd. This is populist science.
The *Illustrated History* improves on its predecessor in a number of respects. It expands on a number of explanations that were incomplete in the first edition. It adds a new section on developments that have occurred in the meantime. And of course there are those full-color pictures, where there was previously only black and white.
(Don't pooh-pooh the pictures. Never underestimate the lasting impression of a picture that the reader *understands*.
Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Froggy Girl on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds on Earth right now, and it's a rare treat to find such a mind that is also such an eloquent communicator. This book brings fantastically complex physics down to an easily digestable (and very yummy) level with practical examples, analogies, and pictures. I had to read it for my physics class, but had so much fun reading it that I asked my teacher to recommend a similar book that I could read for fun. The book blends the historical development of the subject with the scientific reality as we know it today, and Hawking is not afraid to admit errors (even his own!) in past theories. I respect a person who can admit their wrongs and turn it into a learning experience. This is easily the best treatment of the subject I've found yet (quantum physics is something of a hobby for me... proud to be a geek!) and I recommend it to anyone who's curious about the nature of the Universe or the amazing things being discovered right now.
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