Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey...
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 fascinating idea, and I can't think of many writers, other than Bryson, who would do it this well. It's the sort of book I would have devoured as a teenager. It might well turn unsuspecting young readers into scientists. And the famous, slightly cynical humour is always there.'”
“'A genuinely useful and readable book. There is a phenomenal amount of fascinating information packed between its covers ... 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.'”
“'Of course, there are people much better qualified than Bill Bryson to attempt a project of this magnitude. None of them, however, can write fluent Brysonese, which, as pretty much the entire Western reading public now knows, is an appealing mixture of self-deprecation, wryness and punnery.'”
“'Impressive in his terse concreteness ... Hugely readable and never obfuscating.'”
The Sunday Times
“'This most enjoyable of books ... A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide.'”
“'The very book I have been looking for most of my life...Bryson wears his knowledge with aplomb and a lot of very good jokes.'”
“'Bill Bryson has an unmatched gift for explaining the most difficult subjects in the clearest possible way. If, like me, your brain tends to go numb when faced with terms like plate tectonics, genome, relativity theory, big bang and particle physics, then it is more than likely that A Short History of Nearly Everything is the cure you have always been looking for...It deserves to sell as many copies as there are protons contained in the full stop that ends this review (at least 500,000,000,000).”
Mail on Sunday
“'Lucid, thoughtful and, above all, entertaining.'”
“'I don't doubt that with A Short History of Nearly Everything he is plugging a gap in the market. As a result, several hundred thousand people will end up knowing a little bit more about the universe than they did before.'”
“'One of the most impressive aspects of A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING is the breadth of its coverage ... The huge number of readers who are likely to engage with this book will enjoy themselves while painlessly imbibing a lot of good science ... Sheer brilliance.'”
The Times Higher
“'It is one of the book's great achievements that Bryson is able to weave a satisfying universal narrative without sparing the reader one whit of scientific ignorance or doubt ... It represents a wonderful education, and all schools would be better places if it were the core science reader on the curriculum.'”
The Times Literary Supplement
“'The travel writer gives us a guide to "time, space, the world, the universe and everything". Bryson promises to make geology, chemistry and even particle physics fun and understandable. Move over Stephen Hawking.'”
“The story of one man trying to find out just what's going on, from the big bang to what the Earth's made of. Bryson breaks the facts down into simple, easy to digest sections and in the process makes himself sound like the coolest science teacher you ever had.”
“'Mr Bryson has a natural gift for clear and vivid expression. I doubt that a better book for the layman about the findings of modern science has been written.'”