©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)
I went for 'A Short History'... because I have so much enjoyed listening to his later book 'At Home'. I've listened to the latter several times now. Bill Bryson's ability to turn a broad subject into a fascinating narrative, full of wit and personality, and an always evident delight in his subject, made 'At Home' one of my favourite audiobooks. Since my understanding of even quite basic scientific theory is quite woeful, I hoped I might find the same delight in his 'Short History...'. While it might take a few more listens before I really understand a lot of the information, the book had the important effect on me of feeling science is an area of wonder and delight.
I will certainly be listening to the book again - in fact the moment it came to an end the first time round, I went straight back to the beginning!
William Roberts' narration is good - I preferred hearing Bryson narrating his own words on 'At Home', as his dry delivery matches his spoken tone the best, of course. But Roberts interpreted the tone of the books well too.
I was not sure what to expect, I had judged the book by its cover in a store and had never had the time to read it.
Since purchasing this title I have fallen in love with the genre. This introduction to what drove science (rather than what science is) has left me researching text that I would have never attempted without the encouragement of this title.
The narration is brilliant and tone perfect.
This should be a mandatory text for all high school science classes that way we would all be exposed to it at some point!
Enjoy, I did (and still am)
Tone perfect- invites the listener in to the journey.
What a great overview of the world. For a non-scientist with a curiosity but no plan to research, this audio is sensational. William Roberts presents Bill Bryson’s words with clarity and personality that makes the 19+ hours both entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable even during the more tedious sections on mosses and the like. It has made my not inconsiderable commute pass with much more vigour for the week or so it took to listen each time and has made me that much more aware of just how insignificant and unlikely we humans really are.
Its rather more technical than most Bryson but good for non scientists. it seems up to date and a mix of the science of a number of disciplines and background on personalitites involved. I was expecting it to be read by Bryson but narration by Roberts was good.
It is scary how much we really don't know about ourselves, the other living things around us and our own planet. To say that this is an incredibly detailed and thoroughly researched book is an understatement! With mind-boggling stats for most things presented, the insignificance of the human race and our own tenuous existence is reinforced at every point. Whilst I'm sure listeners with a science background would appreciate this book at a different level, I found every chapter engaging and fascinating. The entertaining narration by William Roberts is the "icing on the cake".
We've listened to this several times. It's more about the scientists than the science, but that human element keeps it consistently accessible. And Bryson does a great job of making complex subjects understandable, while also allowing listeners to relate to the various concepts through some clever metaphors. And the narrator is absolutely fantastic. He could probably make a grocery list sound pretty engaging. Of course, this is better than a grocery list. Highly recommended.
This is something else. You will not want to miss a word of it but don't worry because the book is even better the second time round. Funny, awesome, finely narrated and infinitely informative.
I enjoyed the abridged version so much that I decided to get the whole thing. What a shame! The quiet, appealing and unassuming voice of the author which lets the text speak for itself is replaced by a loud, exaggerated character who sounds like he's doing a TV sketch. I just couldn't listen any more after the first hour.
Say something about yourself!
This is one of the rarest books that bring knowledge and joy at the same time. It keep you listening all the time and make you try to understand and learn more, in some way the only sad thing about it, that it was for me kind of short. I highly recommend this book to everybody. I read it twice and love it. I even bought the printed illustrated edition just to have it and see the pictures.
Bryson is awesome - so much information you have to listen many times to absorb its content. He writes in such an easy and enjoyable way - great if your interested in history and like it delivered to you in an entertaining manner. Highly recommended.
"this would be my desert island disks book."
This book really does say it all. And it does so in a humorous and informative way. I believe there is a copy in every school.. Maybe we could do worse than set aside 1 lesson a week and play the audible version under the general studies banner ( that is if such a topic exists).
"The best of all audiobooks"
The finest audiobook ever. I list to it over and over again. Love every second.
"Witty and fascinating story"
Well read by the narrator and a mine of information brought to life by BB humour and anecdotal style.
"Interesting but soporific"
The content is very interesting and should be compelling. Maybe it's me but I couldn't sustain my attention. In the end I used this to overcome sleeping through the noise my neighbours make. Worked within the 15 min sleep timer nearly every time. I will listen again!
"It's great to learn why we know what we know"
I found this book fascinating and not too technical. it's quite amusing in places too. The American accent of the narrator fits the original authors origins. I learnt things that I thought I already knew about.! The amount of research for this book must have taken an age to compile. Great stuff.
This was my first purchase of an Audio Book, and what a choice 😀
Everyone needs this book 👍🏽👍🏽
"Really well read."
Some chapters were just a bit dull, despite some great writing - but not interesting to me in particular.
Over all - a really fascinating book full of brilliant wit, well imagined and described historical figures and useful(less?) information!
"A great overview of May aspects of life as we know it."
Well constructed and it covers all sorts of interesting topics all woven into a great story. I will be listening to it again.
"Interesting but shifting from generic to very detailed"
The book is quite interesting and well narrated. The downside of the broad scope is that if goes in fine details on some subjects and very broadly on some others. Starts with astronomy part moves to anthropology and biology. My favorite part was the biology and the initial astrology.
"Just Read (listened ) to it for the 5th time..."
... and it's revealed yet more nuggets that I hadn't absorbed from previous readings. A book that provides a wide ranging scientific and historical perspective of mankind's journey of understanding and discovery. An enlightening and entertaining read.
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