A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's fascinating and humorous quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"To 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. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose....Brims with strange and amazing facts...destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times)
"A short Review of Nearly Everything"
Bill Bryson is best known for writing fun travelogues of his journeys around the world and, here, he turns the same sense of humour and writing style to this brief walk through the history of science.
Split in fairly broad swathes by subject, he addresses what we know, what we suspect and what we thought we knew but now figure we got wrong. This is interspaced with tales of the people behind the discoveries (many oddballs and eccentrics).
This is by no means complete, but there is a surprisingly large amount covered including cosmology, geology, biology and lots of other things you hated at school because they weren't presented this clearly or interestingly.
The only downside to the audiobook comes when discussing some numbers where the sheer immensity gets lost a bit without seeing it written down but it's the most minor of quibbles for a truly special text introducing reasonable intelligent science to the reasonably intelligent person.
"A great contribution"
I listened to it in the car twice, my sons read it. I bought four copies of the book to give away to friends. ALL found it incredibly insightful and well written. So informative about important scientific developments. The author reads it perfectly. Very nice to listen to.
"Long listen, needs concentration!"
I decided to give this a go on audiobook, as the length of the actual book put me off. I'm glad I did. If you are expecting 'History' in the traditional sense here, be warned - Bryson's book covers 'History' in terms of the creation of the world, the universe and everything, and is in fact far more concerned with physics and chemistry.
Very interesting in parts, although I have to be honest and say big chunks went over my head - it's the sort of listen that you can tune in and out of as you wish. Be warned though - it's very very very long, so you will need determination to get through it all.
The author makes even the driest of subject matter engaging and entertaining. I now feel more knowledgeable about nearly everything!
The best, most informative audiobook you will ever ever listen to. 19 hours of pure joy. From the Big Bang to swine flu and everything in between, absolutely tremendous book.
Perfect for fact fans, Palin fans, Wonders of the... fans. In fact i wont be surprised if Brian Cox makes a series about 'The wonders of 'A short history of nearly everthing'' Unabridged...of course!
This is probably my favourite non-fiction title I have listened to so far. It pretty well delivers on it's titles promise, in that it covers so many subjects, from the origins of the Universe through to recent man's history. There are so many entertaining anecdotes and interesting facts, coming in such high concentration that as soon as it finished, I listened to the whole thing again so I could retain some more of them to amaze other people with!
If schools could capture just a fraction of the interest that this book creates in their classes, rather than rolling out tedious dates and formulas, then I am sure they would find grades would go up. History, Science, Geography, Biology, Astrophysics are but a few of the subjects that are brought to life with real facts delivered in a humourous and informative manner. Excellently narrated and highly recommended.
"An outstanding read"
This book is a genuine tour de force which I have listened to now many times, and will listen to again, and again.
I was gripped by this from beginning to end. Bryson provides an overview of modern science, tracing the story of various disciplines. What stands out is the way that he makes each narrative strand fascinating in its own right, while weaving them into a bigger picture. I loved the way that he provides a historical perspective on scientific endeavour. He's really good at explaining where various ideas came from and why they seemed radical in their day. I'm sure that if you're a serious scientist then Bryson is just glossing the surface. But as an interested non-scientist I found that this explained and illuminated a lot of ideas I had previously found vague and confusing. Fascinating.
"A history of why the world is like it is"
This is a book with an astonishingly wide scope which it covers admirably. Never during its 19 hours was I bored and it remains accessible throughout. It's packed full of things you never even knew that you didn't know!
The fact that it's described as a history may suggest that it's all about things that happened in the past and indeed much of the book does cover events from Big Bang through to recent history. But in covering such history it also explains much about how the world is today.
This is a fascinating book that will interest a wide range of people. You don't need to be an expert historian or scientist to understand and enjoy this book. I'd definitely highly recommend it.
A word about the narration also - I've listened to a number of Bill Bryson books narrated by William Roberts and he is always an excellent narrator. The way he narrates the book just adds to what is already an excellent book and ensures that one's interest is not lost for a second.
"AMAZING - What else can one say"
A book that has to be put forward for the Booker prize of the year.
I can only agree with all the critics that say this book should be put onto School and University curriculam's - A riveting read
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.