A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Crown/Archetype, May 6, 2003 - History - 560 pages
One of the world’s most beloved writers and New York Times bestselling author of A Walk in the Woods and The Body 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 Trailwell, most of it. 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 understandand, if possible, answerthe 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.

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Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

User Review  - Kamesh Chivukula - Goodreads

A great book on the history off science from a master story teller. After reading this book I was Grief stricken for not choosing science as a career of choice. After reading the paper back, I brought ... Read full review

Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

User Review  - Agne - Goodreads

It's a remarkable book. It reads like The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but is about actual facts. Some things that really stuck with me: 1. The fact that we [humans] are here is astounding. 2. We ... Read full review

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Contents

LOST IN THE COSMOS
7
DANGEROUS PLANET
13
THE SIZE OF THE EARTH
41
The StoneBreakers
63
Science Red in Tooth and Claw
79
Elemental Matters
97
A NEW AGE DAWNS
113
Getting the Lead Out
149
LIFE ITSELF
237
PART THE ROAD TO
417
NOTES
473
BIBLIOGRAPHY
517
INDEX
530
Copyright

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Page 421 - Descended from the apes! My dear, we will hope it is not true. But if it is, let us pray that it will not become generally known.
Page 478 - Having shot down a number, some of which were only wounded, the whole flock swept repeatedly around their prostrate companions, and again settled on a low tree, within twenty yards of the spot where I stood. At each successive discharge, though showers of them fell, yet the affection of the survivors seemed rather to increase; for after a few circuits around the place, they again alighted near me, looking down on their slaughtered companions, with such manifest symptoms of sympathy and concern, as...
Page 75 - I have always thought that the great merit of the "Principles" was that it altered the whole tone of one's mind, and therefore that, when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes...
Page 51 - Isaac replied immediately that it would be an Ellipsis, the Doctor struck with joy & amazement asked him how he knew it, why saith he I have calculated it...
Page 386 - You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.
Page 67 - The world which we inhabit is composed of the materials, not of the earth which was the immediate predecessor of the present, but of the earth, which is ascending from the present, we consider as the third, and which had preceded the land that was above the surface of the sea, while our present land was yet beneath the water of the ocean.
Page 241 - The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming.
Page 390 - I never saw a more striking coincidence; if Wallace had my MS. sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as heads of my chapters.

About the author (2003)

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include A Walk in the WoodsThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and A Short History of Nearly Everything (which won the Aventis Prize in Britain and the Descartes Prize, the European Union's highest literary award). He was chancellor of Durham University, England's third oldest university, from 2005 to 2011, and is an honorary fellow of Britain's Royal Society.

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