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Description - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to find out 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. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, 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 about 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, 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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552150729
ISBN-10: 055215072X
Format: CD-Audio
(143mm x 125mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Corgi Audio
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Publish Date: 28-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

UK Kirkus Review » If you only know Bill Bryson as the author of amusing but essentially lightweight travelogues, prepare to be amazed. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his Sisyphean quest to understand everything that has ever happened, from the Big Bang via creation and evolution to the rise of human civilization. Bryson takes the kind of mind-boggling subjects that bore the pants off the average reader - geology, chemistry, particle physics, DNA - and miraculously renders them not only comprehensible but engaging, even (God forbid) fun. That he does so without ever seeming trite or simplistic says a great deal for Bryson's skill as a writer, and reveals hitherto unimagined depths of seriousness (remember, this is the man who single-handedly invented literary travel-lite). Of course, A Short History is still a travel book, of sorts. It merely replaces the coastal paths of Britain, the Appalachian Trial and the Australian Outback with the vast, awe-inspiring landscapes of time and space. It's not surprising, then, that Bryson took three years 'finding saintly, patient experts prepared to answer a lot of outstandingly dumb questions'. As with his other books, Bryson presents a splendid parade of characters, dead and alive, by turns obsessive, competitive, foolish and plain eccentric (like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish, who worked out how much the earth weighed but didn't bother to tell anyone). No doubt some spoilsports and naysayers will query whether there is really anything new in here - to which Bryson has the perfect answer. As the physicist Leo Szilard remarked, apropos his unpublished diary, 'I am going to record the facts for the information of God.... He knows the facts, but He doesn't know this version of the facts.' You would be well advised to familiarise yourself with Bryson's version of events. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to America for a few years but have now returned to the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Lost Continent, Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, Made in America, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, Notes From a Big Country, Down Under and, most recently, A Short History of Nearly Everything. He is also the author of the bestselling African Diary (a charity book for CARE International).

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