These books create a stunning portrait of contemporary American life.
Before writing this book, Bill Bryson was definitely not a science buff. His interest was quashed by the dry textbooks of his youth. Thankfully, as an adult, his famous curiosity took over and he realized that science need not be boring or abstruse. A Short History of Nearly Everything, an insanely ambitious science book written for the layperson by a layperson, is the outcome of this realization, and it's immensely informative and as lively and engaging as Bryson's best travel tales. The book traces the miracle of life as we know it, weaving in everything from chemistry to astronomy to paleontology, and relying on experts for guidance. So much more than a summation of Bryson’s research, A Short History tells a story, and it's as epic and profound as they come. If you've ever wished you could recapture your childhood wonder with the natural and physical world, this book is the ideal starting point. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
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.
"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
"[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
"Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective." Kirkus Reviews
"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
"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
"Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent...a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world's biggest story." Seattle Times
"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
"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
"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
"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
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.