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Informative,
Interesting,
Inspiring

4 reviews

A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition
by Bill Bryson

Published: 2010-10-05
Paperback : 624 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 4 members
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, beloved author Bill Bryson confronts his greatest challenge yet: to ...
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Introduction

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, beloved author Bill Bryson 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Review

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Each of us took one topic or chapter from the version we read and presented it however we liked.
One of us wrote each topic, as it was presented, with its related time in history on an index card and clothespinned it to a cord draped across one side of the room.
In this way, we made a timeline to further enhance understanding of the big picture! One of our favorite meetings!
by KeaKiya (see profile) 03/20/12

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

3 versions of book available
by KeaKiya (see profile) 03/20/12
Be sure to let members know there are 3 versions: original, original plus many fabulous illustrations, and "really short..." version which targets youth but was GREAT for many of us: quicker to read and straight-forward language in short sections, also with delightful illustrations (drawn, not photos). We recommend all 3 versions!

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "A Short History of Nearly Everything"by Paint4me (see profile) 09/06/13

Too complicated and dense for a book club selection but I liked the book. It does not do well as a book for group discussions.

 
  "Science made for me, a non-scientist!"by KeaKiya (see profile) 03/20/12

And now I start to get it!

 
  "full of information"by meredithds (see profile) 03/20/12

I read the "really" short history by accident--and kept thinking it would be great for my grandson. Duh! Didn't realize there were two versions and I had the young people's version. Recommend it highly... (read more)

 
  "A Short History of Nearly Everything"by Brisja (see profile) 03/06/12

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