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From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As the title suggests, bestselling author Bryson (In a Sunburned Country) sets out to put his irrepressible stamp on all things under the sun. As he states at the outset, this is a book about life, the universe and everything, from the Big Bang to the ascendancy of Homo sapiens. "This is a book about how it happened," the author writes. "In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." What follows is a brick of a volume summarizing moments both great and curious in the history of science, covering already well-trod territory in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics and so on. Bryson relies on some of the best material in the history of science to have come out in recent years. This is great for Bryson fans, who can encounter this material in its barest essence with the bonus of having it served up in Bryson's distinctive voice. But readers in the field will already have studied this information more in-depth in the originals and may find themselves questioning the point of a breakneck tour of the sciences that contributes nothing novel. Nevertheless, to read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that shed new light on things we mistake for commonplace. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking for most readers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is my favorite book of all time. I have given it to more than a dozen people and probably read it five or six times cover to cover. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Gerald Sherrell
What pleasant way to read about everything from Cosmology to Quantum mechanics (I hope).
I'm not finished yet.
The most amazing interesting book I have read for a long time. Thoroughly recommend it should be read more than once.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
This effort of Bill Bryson is most helpful in getting an overview of what has happened in our history. We needed this. It's very readable entertaining and educational. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Bryan Crumpton
I can't stop thinking about this book or quoting it at social gatherings.Published 9 days ago by R. Caldwell
I'm really loving this book. It was required for a class I'm taking and I wasn't sure I'd be interested in it but now I'm ahead of the reading of the class reading schedule because... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Sahara
Difficult subjects explained in a readable way. Well worth reading. One of the few books I will re-read. I believe that most reader s will enjoy this book.Published 11 days ago by Donald J. Courtright