©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"Not to be missed." (AudioFile)
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times Book Review)
This is a book that is not only fascinating to listen to but so replete with information that I am going to buy a print copy too. I have already recommended it to many friends. The audio version is exceptionally engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed the reader's style of presentation. It is hard to describe briefly how the book covers the millennia beginning with the inception of the entire Universe and continuing on to the present century. To say it is thought-provoking is an extreme understatement. Anyone who is even mildly interested in life on this planet, evolution, the sciences, history, politics and so much more will be informed and entertained to their heart's content. It is difficult to stop listening for even awhile as the pace carries the reader to more and more discoveries throughout the course of time immemorial. I want to emphasize too, that despite the prodigious amount of information, there is humor on every "page." The author ingeniously infuses humor into every aspect of revelatory research and describes factoids and details most of us would never have known from reading other works. I LOVED this book!
Would I recommend? I have recommended to just about everyone that will listen.
Bill Bryson takes some very difficult concepts and lays them out in simple language that anyone can understand. Many times I felt like I was on a tour, enjoying the amazing world around us.
First time with Richard, very enjoyable.
While you don't want to stop listening, it is best to take in parts, so you have time to consider the information you are taking in. Excellent. have already listened to it twice.
If it is the only book you listen to this year, it is well worth the time.
Broad, Captivating, Amusing
The author has a great wit. He's never boring. He ties in quips, anecdotes and analogies that make difficult concepts easy to grasp. It also frames them in a very interesting way. The book covers a lot of ground and moves very quickly.
I loved his accent. He was an excellent narrator. Easy on the ears!
Yes!! I will listen to it again. It covers so much, you know you didn't grasp enough. But it is a lengthy book. Few could march through it all at once.
How did we get here? Where is here exactly? And for that matter what are we? Bill Bryson takes up these questions and leads us on a tour of science and the history of science – from particle physics to astronomy and cosmology, through chemistry, geology, biology and much else besides. He is so endlessly engaging and entertaining that it's easy to overlook how much one is learning amid all the compelling human stories of scientists famous and unknown, professionals and amateurs, but all brilliant and endearingly (or infuriatingly) quirky and weird.
Richard Matthews, posh English accent aside, does wonderful work in capturing Bryson's breezy, conversational tone, even in exploring the densest thickets of atomic structure, rock chemistry, ocean salinity, etc etc etc.
The themes that emerge through all of this are just how little we still know, and above all just how accidental, fragile, and tenuous life (especially human life) is, and how much our ignorance and carelessness as a species threaten our very existence. Bryson enumerates the many threats we can't control – volcanoes, earthquakes, meteors – while eloquently appealing for us to come to terms with those we can.
I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature
a most engaging presentation of the universe's history
information about the geysers in Yellowstone and what is inevitable was surprising
he magnified the humor
empty your bladder first; this is a long trip
anything Bill Bryson writes is magnificent
The best part about Bill Bryson's book is the time devoted to detailing the personalities of the (sometimes hapless) historical figures involved. If you're already a devoted science reader then you may find some of the information covered rather elementary, but like any well-written primer one realizes that there are plenty of treasures yet to be revealed.
Special kudos to Richard Matthews and the audio producers.
Over the road Truck Driver. I enjoy audiobooks as they help the miles roll by.....Especially unabridged History and good Fiction.
A very good, well researched book. And the title pretty well sums it up. I got the abridged version a few years ago, and saw this...AWESOME! UN-abridged! If you have a lot of driving to do, this book will keep you interested.
I plan on listening to this many times over. There is so much information, but in a easily understood package.
Not at all. Even if someone did have 18 hours to sit down and listen, there would be so much information you wouldn't hold much of it in. Still, great to listen to for long periods (road trips for myself).
I took an English class in which we read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bryson as well as "The Curve of Binding Energy" by John McPhee. I would have loved to replace the two with this book instead.
I am on the road constantly so I was able to get through this amazing book much easier in the audible form.
Yes, but that would be a lot of sitting
Great book. Kept me interested, and entertained from beginning to end. Great overview of nearly everything. Really enjoyed the narration as well.
The book is a fun listen. It covers lots of categories which are truly universal and of importance to all - although many would not initially be thought of as "history". It has many interesting anecdotes about important knowledge and the performance by Richard Matthews in delivering the often tongue in cheek prose from Bryson is just wonderful.
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