A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Doubleday Canada, 2004 - Book clubs (Discussion groups) - 560 pages
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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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A Short History of Nearly Everything was a great book. I picked it for a school project, thinking it would be the easiest to get through. Turns out it was easier than I thought to get through, I picked it up and by the time I had put it down I was half-way through. The book was great and very informative; it had just the right amount of history and information. Although the book was supposed to be a history it felt more like a story of how the earth was made by the views of scientists. I was worried that the book would have to many scientific terms and that it would not explain them so I would not really understand what exactly the book was talking about. I was pleasantly surprised that I understood almost everything that Bill Bryson was talking about. The good thing about the book was that as it was explaining an idea and as soon as you start to wonder something it starts to answer your question. While the book cannot answer everything you wonder it comes pretty close to those questions that you have always had. A Short History of Nearly Everything gives you informative facts about how scientist believe the earth came to be and how things work, without actually pushing any ideas onto you, it is simply an informative book. Overall a great book and great for anyone who wants answers to those tough questions you have always wondered. 

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I think this will be the book that I will go back to again and again. There were so many interesting facts to learn, and I enjoyed reading about how various scientists discovered new information that often surprised them. I liked reading about William Herschel's discovery of the planet Uranus in 1781 and how he wanted to name it after King George III (Georgium Sidus). I also liked learning about prehistoric guinea pigs the size of cows. 

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About the author (2004)

BILL BRYSON's bestselling books include A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburned Country, A Short History of Nearly Everything (which earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize), The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, At Home and One Summer. He lives in England with his wife.

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