Bill Bryson’s bestseller, now available in audio format.
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 EVERTHING is his quest to understand 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 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, such as the painfully shy Henry Cavendish, who worked out important conundrums including how much the earth weighed, but failed to report 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.
“'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 Mail
“'The amount of ground covered is truly impressive...it's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science'”
John Waller, Guardian
“'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