Author(s): Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us.
Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?
On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish who worked out many conundrums like how much the Earth weighed, but never bothered to tell anybody about many of his findings. In the company of such extraordinary people, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
The incomparable Bill Bryson travels through time and space to introduce us to the world, the universe and everything in this groundbreaking bestseller.
Winner of Descartes Prize for Science Communication 2005.
"Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between . . . brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing."--"The New York Times "Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science."--"People "Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent . . . a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world's biggest story."--"Seattle Times "Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable."--Simon Winchester, "The Globe and Mail "All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations."--"National Post "Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can't help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind."-"Ottawa Citizen "Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned."-"Winnipeg Free Press "[A Short History of Nearly Everything] is a crash course in the basics of climatology, chemistry, biology, botany, geology and physics. Bryson's enthusiasm is infectious, his explanations simple. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to get them."
Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. He settled in England in 1977, and lived for many years with his English wife and four children in North Yorkshire. He and his family then moved to America for a few years but have now returned to the UK. He is the bestselling author of The Lost Continent, Mother Tongue, Neither Here Nor There, Made in America, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, Notes From a Big Country, Down Under and, most recently, A Short History of Nearly Everything. He is also the author of the bestselling African Diary (a charity book for CARE International).