©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)
Family on the move.
How truly puny we really are. This book will change your perspective on your place in the universe.
This book presents a complicated subject matter in a very entertaining fashion. It seemed to me to be a blend of scientific fact and some presumption. He makes huge presumptions at various points, but that is not a problem if you discern where this occurs. Much of this book is very educational, though I would characterize it more as entertainment.
Bryson starts off with a good idea--write a history of earth and science highlighting the novel and the curious. He doesn't just do this for important historical events, but for everything. Listening becomes painfully tedious. It descends into a rant about how Bryson views the world and history, but without any theories. Imagine reading AJP Taylor for the details without any larger theory holding it together. The print version you can skim, an abridged version get the highlights, but with this version there is no escaping the boredom.
I listen to this book for a few minutes as a natural soporific. It should be titled "A Short History of the People Who Invented Science", as opposed to "A Short History of The Concepts Involved in Science."
Hey, he's funny right. Oh, its not read by him which I didn't notice at first. The narrator does just fine, but if you expect Bill, then ahhhh shucks. Its written by him so its got some of his humor and style built in. You can hear it, but through anothers voice. And its what the title says. Its more like a semi-interesting overview of history. Its not dry (humm, still thinking), but its not a funny ha ha book like his 'in the woods' book, and a slight bit of a referency book feel (although I would have to throw a listen-to reference book out the car window rather then listen). Still, I rate it a high 3, almost four stars for the work(4 being the highest I generally give). Go for it, and it has a lot and is longer so a great value. Its ok. There is at least one other in the style out there. I listened all the way through without breaking off to other books as I sometime do when a book gets on my nerves or makes me fall asleep. Rate it up to 3.8. Its credit worthy.
The book is good overview of how science has progressed across the last several centuries. The disappointment was because the book didn't enlighten me that much. For the price paid, I was expecting more. I would say the book is probably worth $20. On the plus side, it is not as boring as some of the other books I recently read.
Parts of this book were interesting, but it's more of a history of scientific research. The author starts out explaining theories of how our universe is formed, which is pretty interesting. After that, the book is heavily tilted toward geology, which can be a bit dry (pardon the pun).
I didn't find it to be worth two credits.
After listening to both abridged and unabridged versions, I would recommend them both. Either way, you won't be disappointed.
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