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A Short History of Nearly Everythingby Bill Bryson
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable." Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail
"Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned." Winnipeg Free Press
One of the world's finest and funniest writers goes on a quest to discover the mysteries of the universe and comprehend the fascinating, eccentric people who devote their lives to unraveling those big questions.
The author traces the Big Bang through the rise of civilization, documenting his work with a host of the world's most advanced scientists and mathematicians to explain why things are the way they are.
In this book Bill Bryson explores the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer and attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out? On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge.
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
Lost in the cosmos: How to build a universe; Welcome to the solar system; Reverend Evans's universe — Size of the earth: Measure of things; Stone-breakers; Science red in tooth and claw; Elemental matters — New age dawns: Einstein's universe; Mighty atom; Getting the lead out; Muster Mark's quarks; Earth moves — Dangerous planet: Bang!; Fire below; Dangerous beauty — Life itself: Lonely planet; Into the troposphere; Bounding main; Rise of life; Small world; Life goes on; Good-bye to all that; Richness of being; Cells; Darwin's singular notion; The stuff of life — Road to us: Ice time; Mysterious biped; Restless ape; Good-bye.
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