A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition
This new edition of the acclaimed bestseller is lavishly illustrated to convey, in pictures as in words, Bill Bryson’s exciting, informative journey into the world of science.
In A Short History of Nearly Everything, the bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body, confronts his greatest challenge yet: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as his 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. The result 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.
Now, in this handsome new edition, Bill Bryson’s words are supplemented by full-color artwork that explains in visual terms the concepts and wonder of science, at the same time giving face to the major players in the world of scientific study. Eloquently and entertainingly described, as well as richly illustrated, science has never been more involving or entertaining.
As the title suggests, bestselling author Bryson (In a Sunburned Country) sets out to put his irrepressible stamp on all things under the sun. As he states at the outset, this is a book about life, the universe and everything, from the Big Bang to the ascendancy of Homo sapiens. "This is a book about how it happened," the author writes. "In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since." What follows is a brick of a volume summarizing moments both great and curious in the history of science, covering already well-trod territory in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics and so on. Bryson relies on some of the best material in the history of science to have come out in recent years. This is great for Bryson fans, who can encounter this material in its barest essence with the bonus of having it served up in Bryson's distinctive voice. But readers in the field will already have studied this information more in-depth in the originals and may find themselves questioning the point of a breakneck tour of the sciences that contributes nothing novel. Nevertheless, 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 for most readers. First printing 110,000; 11-city author tour. (On sale May 6)
A brief history on knowing and discovery.
What I thought would be a good baseline primer texts of core scientific principles turned out to be so much more. Bryson’s monumental effort both catalogs the general principles of our world and universe, but more importantly captures the history of the great scientific exercise. The countless people over time who worked tirelessly to discover more and more about our selves and the universe.
The book is no easy march through history and science. Easy and hard concepts are everywhere for you to discern. But with every page, that inane child like wonder for the natural world and the WHY of how everything works comes roaring back. It would be great if books like this were read concurrently or in summary to the school textbooks on science that we are assigned. The approach would bring a little levity and wonder back to the slog of academia.
Some of what you will encounter in this tour of the world of science you will already know, the rest will be new and engaging. Indeed, it’s the interconnected nature of all the disciplines, personal back stories, squabbling, and partnerships that emerge that make this history so complex and entertaining. This was the most accessible scientific text I have ever read. If more people read this we may have been able to not have such a hard struggle with understanding vaccinations during the pandemic.
Not Worth It
Save yourself a couple bucks and buy the regular edition of this book. The illustrations are really just google search worthy, and frankly just take away from the writing. Some of the illustrations were cartoons from the newspaper vaguely referencing the subject, and others are low resolution pictures of nebula and other spacy things (clearly I'm no expert). Overall not worth it, though the regular text is brilliant. I love it.
A Thorough Yet Brief Compendium of Natural History
I'm incredulous of the amount of research Bryson put into this book. He really took the time to go above and beyond toward realms of thought and inquiry far outreaching his scope as an author. I can't help but appreciate the immensity of this work.
I encourage anybody of a high school reading level to give this book a chance. The beginning is breathtakingly illustrative of concepts otherwise unimaginable to the average Joe, and what's more, Bryson's language does little to obstruct or obscure the big picture. So much literature of this nature is dismissed on account of lofty diction and esoteric jargon, but this particular book is a breath of fresh air for anybody with even a subtle interest in science and natural history wanting to better understand it all.
All that keeps this book from a five-star rating are the brief periods of dry material which prove necessary in compiling a vast summary of time so succinctly. It's a picky critique and easily overlooked.