©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose....Brims with strange and amazing facts...destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times)
A superbly whimsical miscellany of knowledge. The narrator matches the style of Bill Bryson impeccably. The range of subjects covered is wide, and the treatment of each is first class. If every child starting high school listened to this before choosing subjects, there would be a far greater enrolment in the sciences. Whether you're a kid of 9 or 90, you will find this fascinating. I cannot resist a minor quibble - the wealth of Johannesburg was not based on diamonds, but gold. The South African city founded on diamonds is Kimberly, whence the term Kimberlite, the volcanic rock that frequently yields diamonds. That aside, what a great book.
If youre interested in science in general this is a great book.
The price for over 15 hrs is a great buy.
Imposible to listen in one sesion.
Buy it, dont be chicken.
This is indeed one of the best books I have had the good fortune to read and also one of the best narrations from all of my Audible purchases.
All Audible customers should consider purchasing this book, whether or not you are history fans. The book is captivating, once you start listening you will not be able to stop -
be prepared to have your life disrupted!!!
Every human being should listen to this book. Not only will it make you appreciate just how far we have come as a species, and how lucky we are to be here (so many other species failed to survive). It will also make you realise that there is so far we have yet to go and just how wrong we can be, and occasionally, right.
An amazing insight into "the only planet you will ever know".
"Rose goes in the front big guy."
I will first admit that I really like Bill Bryson and own all of his books - even "Palace Under the Alps". With that in mind, it won't be a surpise when I tell you "A Short History" is something pretty magical - it's helped to open my eyes to much in the world around me.
So why am I torn? Normally I detest Abridged books - I like books I can get deeply involved in and enjoy over a period of time. However, as with his other books, Bryson himself reads only the Abridged version of "A Short History" - and if you haven't heard him read his own material - well you really should. His droll, dry wit is best delivered by his own tounge.
So, my solution was to acquire both versions of "A Short History" and I've enjoyed both - but I leave the Bryson read Abridged version in my car and listen to it from time to time - I don't see myself doing the same with the Unabridged version.
Very interestingly written and captures / sustains your attention much of the time. On occasion the digrassions can be a little distracting but, these are rare occurances. It provides historical context to the development of the subject matter and is very enlightening on the many personalities whose individual efforts contributed to the whole.
This is my favourite audio book from audible so far. At first the narrator was slightly irritating, he sounds like the kind of "crazy professor" types they get to host pop science shows for kids, but after a while he grew on me, and in the end I think it was very well narrated.
The actual content is far too wide ranging to cover specifically in a short review. But it follows a coherent path about all those little tidbits of the history of our planet, our species and our universe, that everyone should know, but most of us never bothered to investigate.
Even though this is probably one of the longest audio books on this site, you'll still be wanting more when it's over. If you're interested in the general topics I mentioned, and just want a nice, "for the average person with an interest in science" presentation of this material, you'll thoroughly enjoy this audio book.
It rarely strays into the extremely technical or detailed, but still conveys the main thrust of the ideas. I highly rate this book, the writing is good, and there were times I laughed out loud, at the authors humour which kind of sneaks up on you.
Although I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure that I got the unabridged version. It was supposed to be 19 hours and I only got 6 hours. What did I miss?
What a great introduction to science. Bryson's great skill is to make a complicated subject enjoyable and easy to understand. Some of the most memorable moments in the book come from the stories of the various scientests detailed. A great read (listen!)
A great listen and read well by William Roberts. Every chapter was packed full of amazing facts that made me just want to listen on. There were very few dull moments and the highlights more than easily out-weighed these. So much of the book has interested me and made me want to learn more on the many subjects covered in the book. You don't necessarily need any prior knowledge on the subjects and is spoken on a intermidiate level. The unabridged version is great, only I wish it went on for longer! I am anticipating another listen later this year - it's that good.
"A deeply insightful look at... nearly everything"
Whilst I'll admit this book is now a little dated (with many references to interviews in 2002) it offers a fantastically engaging look into the histories of a great number of disciplines and the stories about our planet they have discovered. Definitely worth a listen!
A very well read and fascinating book of everything. First hour or so was a little mundane but it really gets going after this.
"This book should be read... not listened to"
I've really tried to like this book because I like Bill Brysons writing but I can't get past about two chapters. It's more like a text book that you dip in and out of. Not something that you can do easily with audio books.
"Answers questions you can't find elsewhere"
I personally find this more accessible than the print version, as I spend a lot of time in the car. It is very well narrated and is an excellent companion for long car journeys.
As explained in the early chapters, it explains how we got the knowledge that we have about such things as the start of the universe, the age of the earth, etc, often with funny anecdotes.
I have not.
Laugh, but also raises information that then generates discussion with other people after listening to it (you can imagine I am quite the dinner party guest!)
Fantastic book for the enquiring mind. Very accessible for all.
"Brief by name... Complete and compelling by nature"
The narration - William Roberts is incredibly easy to listen to, and he gets across the science very well.
No first time
Visually stunning - in an audible kind of way
I have had the book version of Brief History for some time now, and never got into it.. So this audible version is quite remarkable in its instantly captivating appeal. So much so I am now listening to it AGAIN.. Bryson captures the key points in life's history and makes them accessible to the common, unscientific audience with aplomb. Fantastic.
"Funny and educational, what more could you want."
One off favourites from a brilliant author.
Some of the quotes from the book are quality and highlight the comical side to out scientific discoveries.
I've not listened to any others but his speaking style definetly adds to the overall experience.
It's a very long book but found my self listening to it at every opportunity.
Highly recommended and difficult to stop until the end.
"Interesting, Fascinating and Intelligent"
I have tried to read he book previously and found it quite hard, having an audiobook containing everything the book has to give is fantastic as I retain heard information more easily. The best thing is just the level of knowledge and how it is interestingly portrayed.
His voice and the intonation of his voice just helps you feel comfortable listening to the book and holds interest, it is a long listen and if William Roberts were more plain-voiced or monotonal it would be horrific to listen to, as is, it is incredibly easy and again the musicality of his voice makes it interesting.
I was fascinated by some of the aspects of quantum physics and there were a few mentions on geology that caught my mind but I would not expect to fall in love with a chapter, it's not that kind of book.
Buy this book, it's fantastic.
"Thoroughly enjoyed the book, worth every penny."
Yes, it gives one so much interesting facts and pictures the history. The story of the history would reveal itself with every listen.
The books make you feel that you can be standing next to great generals and live the history with them. While listening I felt like I was transported to the different phases and places of history. This book caught my attention that I was disappointed every time I had to stop the book in order to work or do something else. For anyone that wants a short overview of history this book is a definite must listen.
The only downside of the book that I have is that it spends quite a while in the stages of late evolution without much fact supporting its theory, but aside from that is is a very good book.
"Huge amount of information succinctly put."
How little we know so far.
Fantastic work, though would really benefit from a revised edition as some information can now be updated with recent advances. Thoroughly recommend reading as well listening, as to read gives you better chance to easily absorb so much information - put wittily with charm.
"The Bill Bryson narrated version is much better"
No. I have the Bill Bryson version on cd, and had assumed the audible version would be the same.
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