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A Short History of Nearly Everything

by

A Short History of Nearly Everything Cover

 

Staff Pick

This learned and amusing work covers the origin of the universe to the human genome. A welcome journey with Bryson in typical wise and witty fashion.
Recommended by Ann E., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey — into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer.

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail — well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world's most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

Review:

"Bryson...achieve[s] exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, [he does] it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose....[S]eems destined to become a modern classic of science writing." Ed Regis, The New York Times

Review:

"Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science." People

Review:

"Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable." Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail

Review:

"All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations." National Post

Review:

"One of the most engaging general-interest science books around. Think of it as a kind of a handy manual to the cosmos....Mr. Bryson believes that much of what humankind has learned can be conveyed to the average reader with humor and clarity." Dallas Morning News

Review:

"To those acquainted with the popular-science writing Bryson has digested, his repackaging is a trip down memory lane, but to his fellow science-phobes, Bryson's tour has the same eye-opening quality to wonder and amazement as his wildly popular travelogues." Booklist

Review:

"[T]o 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....[A] trip worth taking..." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"I can't vouch for the accuracy of the content, but written the way it is, it undeniably makes learning fun....I can't imagine what Mr. Bryson will tackle next....But I look forward to his future undertaking with unabashed eagerness." BookReporter

Review:

"With his keen and wonderfully humorous perspective, Bryson has written the best kind of travelogue...in which each stop on the itinerary is fascinating because he settles in and stays awhile, unearthing the stories and myths of the local denizens." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent...a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world's biggest story." Seattle Times

Review:

"Bill Bryson gives you science that's both serious and fun in this detailed and enjoyable book....Bryson's challenge here was...to make us understand and appreciate how profound, frightening or just plain interesting our world is, and he's done a wonderful job." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"A 545-page doorstop that is neither a hilarious travelogue or a witty book about language, both trademarks of the author. Rather, it's a swift tour of the sciences and an ambitious one at that....Bryson is a master of his craft." Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

"Bill Bryson's latest tome...delivers exactly what the title suggests....Readers familiar with Bryson's wry sense of humor and casual writing style will find plenty here; he makes science interesting and funny." Boston Globe

Review:

"A Short History of Nearly Everything is everything a book should be — informative, engaging, well styled, rewarding both for the information it provides and the art that shapes it." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Synopsis:

In this book, bestsellling author Bill Bryson confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions posed about the universe, everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.

About the Author

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In A Sunburned Country, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words, Bill Bryson's African Diary, and A Short History of Nearly Everything. He lives in Norfolk, England, with his wife and children.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I Lost in the Cosmos 7
1 How to Build a Universe 9
2 Welcome to the Solar System 19
3 The Reverend Evans's Universe 29
Pt. II The Size of the Earth 41
4 The Measure of Things 43
5 The Stone-Breakers 63
6 Science Red in Tooth and Claw 79
7 Elemental Matters 97
Pt. III A New Age Dawns 113
8 Einstein's Universe 115
9 The Mighty Atom 133
10 Getting the Lead Out 149
11 Muster Mark's Quarks 161
12 The Earth Moves 173
Pt. IV Dangerous Planet 187
13 Bang! 189
14 The Fire Below 207
15 Dangerous Beauty 224
Pt. V Life Itself 237
16 Lonely Planet 239
17 Into the Troposphere 255
18 The Bounding Main 270
19 The Rise of Life 287
20 Small World 302
21 Life Goes On 321
22 Good-bye to All That 335
23 The Richness of Being 350
24 Cells 371
25 Darwin's Singular Notion 381
26 The Stuff of Life 397
Pt. VI The Road to Us 417
27 Ice Time 419
28 The Mysterious Biped 434
29 The Restless Ape 453
30 Good-bye 469
Notes 479
Bibliography 517
Index 529

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

jksquires, May 10, 2013 (view all comments by jksquires)
Once again, when I finished a Bryson book, this one being the most recent one, I felt like I had taken a fascinating journey with a good friend and now was sadly saying goodbye. Bryson's writing is so clear, so entertaining, and so interesting that he can choose any subject and take a reader on a fascinating journey of discovery. A Short History of Nearly Everything covers geology, astronomy, evolutionary theory, and the discovery of DNA, yet Bill Bryson makes all of these subjects accessible to someone like myself who knows very little of any of these sciences. Bill Bryson is quite simply a treasure, and I hope he never stops writing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
jksquires, May 10, 2013 (view all comments by jksquires)
Once again, when I finished a Bryson book, this one being the most recent one, I felt like I had taken a fascinating journey with a good friend and now was sadly saying goodbye. Bryson's writing is so clear, so entertaining, and so interesting that he can choose any subject and take a reader on a fascinating journey of discovery. A Short History of Nearly Everything covers geology, astronomy, evolutionary theory, and the discovery of DNA, yet Bill Bryson makes all of these subjects accessible to someone like myself who knows very little of any of these sciences. Bill Bryson is quite simply a treasure, and I hope he never stops writing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
don weng, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by don weng)
Bill Bryson is Brilliant. I read an except of this book, per her request, at a friend's memorial service. I found this book educational, inspirational and comforting. It changed my life and allowed me to look at death more realistically. I have purchased countless copies as gifts. It should be read by everyone.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767908184
Author:
Bryson, Bill
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Author:
Various
Subject:
General
Subject:
Trivia
Subject:
History
Subject:
Questions & Answers
Subject:
General Travel
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
World
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
9.30x6.08x1.17 in. 1.18 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Featured Titles
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Cosmology
Science and Mathematics » Popular Science » General

A Short History of Nearly Everything New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.99 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767908184 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This learned and amusing work covers the origin of the universe to the human genome. A welcome journey with Bryson in typical wise and witty fashion.

"Review" by , "Bryson...achieve[s] exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, [he does] it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose....[S]eems destined to become a modern classic of science writing."
"Review" by , "Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science."
"Review" by , "Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable."
"Review" by , "All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations."
"Review" by , "One of the most engaging general-interest science books around. Think of it as a kind of a handy manual to the cosmos....Mr. Bryson believes that much of what humankind has learned can be conveyed to the average reader with humor and clarity."
"Review" by , "To those acquainted with the popular-science writing Bryson has digested, his repackaging is a trip down memory lane, but to his fellow science-phobes, Bryson's tour has the same eye-opening quality to wonder and amazement as his wildly popular travelogues."
"Review" by , "[T]o 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....[A] trip worth taking..."
"Review" by , "Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective."
"Review" by , "I can't vouch for the accuracy of the content, but written the way it is, it undeniably makes learning fun....I can't imagine what Mr. Bryson will tackle next....But I look forward to his future undertaking with unabashed eagerness."
"Review" by , "With his keen and wonderfully humorous perspective, Bryson has written the best kind of travelogue...in which each stop on the itinerary is fascinating because he settles in and stays awhile, unearthing the stories and myths of the local denizens."
"Review" by , "Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent...a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world's biggest story."
"Review" by , "Bill Bryson gives you science that's both serious and fun in this detailed and enjoyable book....Bryson's challenge here was...to make us understand and appreciate how profound, frightening or just plain interesting our world is, and he's done a wonderful job."
"Review" by , "A 545-page doorstop that is neither a hilarious travelogue or a witty book about language, both trademarks of the author. Rather, it's a swift tour of the sciences and an ambitious one at that....Bryson is a master of his craft."
"Review" by , "Bill Bryson's latest tome...delivers exactly what the title suggests....Readers familiar with Bryson's wry sense of humor and casual writing style will find plenty here; he makes science interesting and funny."
"Review" by , "A Short History of Nearly Everything is everything a book should be — informative, engaging, well styled, rewarding both for the information it provides and the art that shapes it."
"Synopsis" by , In this book, bestsellling author Bill Bryson confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions posed about the universe, everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.
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