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A Short History of Nearly Everything
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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) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Praise for "A Short History of Nearly Everything
"A modern classic of science writing. . . . The more I read of "A Short History of Nearly Everything, the more I was convinced that Bryson had achieved exactly what he'd set out to do." --"New York Times Book Review
"A highly readable mix of historical anecdotes, gee-whiz facts, adept summarization, and gleeful recounts of the eccentricities of great scientists. It moves so fast that it's science on a toboggan."--"Seattle Times
"[Bill Bryson] makes science interesting and funny. . . . You can bet that many questions you have about the universe and the world will be answered here."--"Boston Globe
"Here are answers to the stupid questions you were afraid to ask in school . . . [Bryson] peppers the book with wit and great details. . . . Bottom line: Science with a smile."--"People
"It is one of this book's great achievements that Bryson is able to weave a satisfying universal narrative without sparing the reader one whit of scientific ignorance or doubt. . . . ["A Short History of Nearly Everything] represents a wonderful education, and all schools would be better places if it were the core science reader on the curriculum."--Tim Flannery, "Times Literary Supplement
Praise for "A Short History of Nearly Everything"
"A modern classic of science writing. . . . The more I read of "A Short History of Nearly Everything," the more I was convinced that Bryson had achieved exactly what he'd set out to do." --"New York Times Book Review"
"A highly readable mix of historical anecdotes, gee-whiz facts, adept summarization, and gleeful recounts of the eccentricities of great scientists. It moves so fast that it's science on a toboggan."--"Seattle Times
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"[Bill Bryson] makes science interesting and funny. . . . You can bet that many questions you have about the universe and the world will be answered here."--"Boston Globe"
"Here are answers to the stupid questions you were afraid to ask in school . . . [Bryson] peppers the book with wit and great details. . . . Bottom line: Science with a smile."--"People"
"It is one of this book's great achievements that Bryson is able to weave a satisfying universal narrative without sparing the reader one whit of scientific ignorance or doubt. . . . ["A Short History of Nearly Everything"] represents a wonderful education, and all schools would be better places if it were the core science reader on the curriculum."--Tim Flannery, "Times Literary Supplement"

Gr 5-9-An illustrated adaptation/abridgment of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, (Broadway, 2003), this treatment addresses the same set of sprawling questions as the original. Among them: How and when was the universe born and how vast might it now be? How old is the Earth and how much does it weigh? Why did the dawn of life happen to emerge here, of all places, and how could lowly microbes possibly be the primitive precursors of a species as complex as Homo sapiens? These are weighty questions for readers of any age to grapple with, but Bryson lightens the load by skillfully scaffolding the concepts he presents. Each topic is concisely addressed in the author's breezy Brit voice, explaining exactly what we know and how we came to know it. Photographs, cartoon sidebars, humorous anecdotes, and frequent recaps entertain and reinforce understanding along the journey. Ultimately, all of the ideas come together to give readers a wide-angle perspective on what a wildly improbable privilege it is to be a member of a species that the author says is "perhaps, the universe's supreme achievement." Bryson wraps up by suggesting that since we seem to be both "the best there is" and the only species capable of deciding our planet's future, we humans should redouble our efforts at being good stewards of the Earth. A highly recommended piece of popular science that succeeds largely because-as he nears age 60-there's clearly still a curious kid living in Bryson's head.-Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Working with noteworthy scientists, Bryson tracks our history from the big bang to the rise of civilization. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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