A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything

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A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's 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. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, 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, 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.show more

Product details

  • CD-Audio
  • 124 x 142 x 24mm | 200g
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Audio
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Abridged
  • Abridged edition
  • 055215072X
  • 9780552150729
  • 80,927

About Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to America for a few years but have now returned to the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Lost Continent, Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, Made in America, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, Notes From a Big Country, Down Under and, most recently, A Short History of Nearly Everything. He is also the author of the bestselling African Diary (a charity book for CARE International).show more

Review quote

"'A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide who loves his patch and is desperate to share its delights with us'" -- Peter Atkins The Times "'A thoroughly enjoyable, as well as educational, experience. Nobody who reads it will ever look at the world around them in the same way again'" -- William Hartston Daily Express "'Brims with strange and amazing facts...destined to become a modern classic of science writing'" -- Ed Regis New York Times Book Review "'It deserves to sell as many copies as there are protons in the full stop that ends this review (at least 500,000,000,000).'" -- Craig Brown Mail on Sunday "'The very book I have been looking for most of my life...Trunkloads of information, amazing stories and extraordinary personalities'" -- Christopher Matthew Daily Mailshow more

Review Text

If you only know Bill Bryson as the author of amusing but essentially lightweight travelogues, prepare to be amazed. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his Sisyphean quest to understand everything that has ever happened, from the Big Bang via creation and evolution to the rise of human civilization. Bryson takes the kind of mind-boggling subjects that bore the pants off the average reader - geology, chemistry, particle physics, DNA - and miraculously renders them not only comprehensible but engaging, even (God forbid) fun. That he does so without ever seeming trite or simplistic says a great deal for Bryson's skill as a writer, and reveals hitherto unimagined depths of seriousness (remember, this is the man who single-handedly invented literary travel-lite). Of course, A Short History is still a travel book, of sorts. It merely replaces the coastal paths of Britain, the Appalachian Trial and the Australian Outback with the vast, awe-inspiring landscapes of time and space. It's not surprising, then, that Bryson took three years 'finding saintly, patient experts prepared to answer a lot of outstandingly dumb questions'. As with his other books, Bryson presents a splendid parade of characters, dead and alive, by turns obsessive, competitive, foolish and plain eccentric (like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish, who worked out how much the earth weighed but didn't bother to tell anyone). No doubt some spoilsports and naysayers will query whether there is really anything new in here - to which Bryson has the perfect answer. As the physicist Leo Szilard remarked, apropos his unpublished diary, 'I am going to record the facts for the information of God.... He knows the facts, but He doesn't know this version of the facts.' You would be well advised to familiarise yourself with Bryson's version of events. (Kirkus UK)show more