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A Short History of Nearly Everything | [Bill Bryson]

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.
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Audible Editor Reviews

"Imagine if you can -- and of course you can't..." is how Bryson opens his explanation of how a universe is born. And he has the uncanny ability to not say too much, nor too little; to use metaphors brilliantly but without cliché; and to sound like he's actually learning as he goes along. Like Stephen Hawking before him, Bryson skips from one BIG topic to the next with the curiosity of a child and the patience of a schoolteacher. It's like having a front-row seat to the history of the world.

With his slightly bemused English accent, narrator Richard Matthews sounds completely at home in the material, chatting knowingly and with perfect dry comic timing. For managing to cover the universe and keep it lively, this experience definitely merits as an all-time favorite.

Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant. Even the most pointy-headed, obscure scientist succumbs to the affable Bryson's good nature, and reveals how he or she figures things out. Showing us how scientists get from observations to ideas and theories is Bryson's aim, and he succeeds brilliantly. It is an adventure of the mind, as exciting as any of Bryson's terrestrial journeys.

©2003 Bill Bryson; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Not to be missed." (AudioFile)
"Destined to become a modern classic of science writing." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Lisa Noblesville, IN, USA 01-13-05
    Lisa Noblesville, IN, USA 01-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bloody brilliant."

    Bryson's done it again (although this is a bit of a departure from much of his previous, travel writing). This book is amusing, engaging and informative. Narrator Richard Matthews has an urbane, literate delivery that does justice to this well-researched, informative, and fun book. One of those books (and voices) that pulls you in and gives you the feeling that just you and the author are in on some fascinating back-story. My only regret is that I wasn't always able to give my full attention to Bryson's prose (I listen at work) but on the other hand this just means that I can listen again and learn something (or lots of things) that I didn't catch the first time. I have Bryson's catalog on paper--now I'm adding his ouvr? to my iPod just as fast as I can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darvish Ankeny, IA, USA 12-18-04
    Darvish Ankeny, IA, USA 12-18-04
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    "Outstanding!"

    Excellent, entertaining overview of earth/science history for the lay person. Bill has taken several very dry subjects and made them fun to listen to. The stories behind the scholars and scientists are what really makes this a fun book to listen to. Highly recommended...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Lenexa, KS, United States 12-10-04
    Mark Lenexa, KS, United States 12-10-04
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    "A rare type of book"

    This book is one of those rare finds that puts most others to shame. Brilliantly written and brilliantly read! Don't miss out on this one science fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nuke 12-02-04
    nuke 12-02-04 Member Since 2009
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    "The BEST!"

    Can't say enough good things about this audio book. Bill Bryson is the perfect narrator. Now listening for second time, and without a doubt be reviewing the material for the forseeable future. From the smallest to the largest known entities to man are presented in a format understandable to all. I now have a clear picture of the wonders of the Universe and lifeforms on this planet, and a clear idea of how all may have come together as we observe it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Santa Cruz, CA, USA 11-23-04
    Joseph Santa Cruz, CA, USA 11-23-04
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    "Better Than Gen-SCI 101"

    I had such a fine time listening, that i went out and bought the actual book just so it could sit on the shelf. What a great book. And funny in that way only those with an english sense of humor can achieve. Listening to this book sparked me to want to devour any related books i can find!! Hopefully Bill will write a follow up and hopefully schools across America should use this book as required reading for all high school freshman!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ulrich munich, NY, USA 10-28-04
    Ulrich munich, NY, USA 10-28-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "title promises more than there is in the book..."

    true: bryson tells us all important facts about almost everything, at least when it comes to natural science. really interesting anecdotes. but he says nothing about the other half of reality: culture, mind, soul, social sciences in general.
    the unabridged book gets a little "lenghty" at times, probably the abriged version is more entertaining.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-28-04
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 10-28-04 Member Since 2002

    Anne in Happy Valley

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Better than 20 credits of science courses"

    Always wanted to understand physics and astronomy better, but studiously avoided those college courses? This is a good substitute for most English majors. Bryson tells stories so well; he makes science a good story too. As for Bryson as a narrator, his unusual speech pattern (perhaps the result of his having lived in UK for most of his adult life, then returning to his native U.S.?) was a bit distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Austin, TX, USA 09-26-04
    Elizabeth Austin, TX, USA 09-26-04 Member Since 2015
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    "Entertainingly written and read"

    Well written; well read. Both author and narrator enjoy their subject, making for hours of very entertaining listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith Adler 09-25-04
    Keith Adler 09-25-04 Listener Since 2002

    K A

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    "Best book I've ever read ..."

    I'm not a frequent reader/listener, but I found that I simply could not stop listening to this fantastic audio book. My only wish is that he comes out with another series of books that cover perhaps the brief history of political figures, world leaders, wars, inventions, etc. The approach is highly educational and entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 07-19-04
    Roberta Eagle, ID, USA 07-19-04 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brings science to life. Nothing dull here!"

    It's the first audio book I listened to more than once, parts of it several times. Interspersed with the scientific explanations, Bryson's offers delightful vignettes of the scientists themselves, bringing a human face to highly technical material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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