Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at ...
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out? On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish who worked out many conundrums like how much the Earth weighed, but never bothered to tell anybody about many of his findings. In the company of such extraordinary people, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
Bryson tackles a big one this time - and does a creditable job of so doing.
Interesting and educational book - worth reading.
Apr 14, 2011
The guy is brilliant
I've listened to this in digital, actually more times than I should have, but just love the history of science that he shares with us. Plus really cool knowledge factoids. Plus he's got this subtle sense of humor that is just a joy to read.
Oh, and the provider sent everything as promised, a book in perfect shape. Fast delivery. Thanks so much, Jim
Mar 17, 2011
A little bit of everything
What is not to love about Bill Bryson? He is informative and amusing at the same time!
Feb 17, 2011
I liked this book so well
I not only recommended it to a friend, I sent it to him. This is not a book to read in a sitting. It's like a good lecture, you're paying attention, paying attention, paying attention, and then you hear (or read) something that takes you away for a moment. Something that resonates in your experience or recalibrates some truth you believed, or answers a question that occasionally reviisits your life. Four stars goes to a book I'll save from a fire so it's better than good. Five stars is worthy of sect creation. Bryson has wit, and the ability to pull information into coherency, rather than simply listing facts without comment or insight. If there's a fire, run back in and get it.
Dec 9, 2010
An excellent read, always!
Bryson's narrative mastery and subtle wit come through and shape such a massive undertaking into a thoroughly enjoyable book!
Publishers Weekly, 2003-04-07 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. First printing 110,000; 11-city author tour. (On sale May 6) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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