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  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409095484
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 672

A Short History of Nearly Everything

The incomparable Bill Bryson travels through time and space to introduce us to the world, the universe and everything in this groundbreaking bestseller.

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us.

Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know. How do we know what is in the centre of the Earth, or what a black hole is, or where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out?

On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, like the painfully shy Henry Cavendish who worked out many conundrums like how much the Earth weighed, but never bothered to tell anybody about many of his findings. In the company of such extraordinary people, Bill Bryson takes us with him on the ultimate eye-opening journey, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.

  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409095484
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 672

About the author

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. His bestselling books include The Road to Little Dribbling, Notes from a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods, One Summer and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. In a national poll, Notes from a Small Island was voted the book that best represents Britain. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of its decade in the UK. His new book The Body: A Guide for Occupants is an extraordinary exploration of the human body which will have you marvelling at the form you occupy.
Bill Bryson was Chancellor of Durham University 2005–2011. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in England.

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Praise for A Short History of Nearly Everything

'Mr Bryson has a natural gift for clear and vivid expression. I doubt that a better book for the layman about the findings of modern science has been written.'

Sunday Telegraph

'A fascinating idea, and I can't think of many writers, other than Bryson, who would do it this well. It's the sort of book I would have devoured as a teenager. It might well turn unsuspecting young readers into scientists. And the famous, slightly cynical humour is always there.'

Evening Standard

'A genuinely useful and readable book. There is a phenomenal amount of fascinating information packed between its covers ... A thoroughly enjoyable, as well as educational, experience. Nobody who reads it will ever look at the world around them in the same way again.'

Daily Express

'Of course, there are people much better qualified than Bill Bryson to attempt a project of this magnitude. None of them, however, can write fluent Brysonese, which, as pretty much the entire Western reading public now knows, is an appealing mixture of self-deprecation, wryness and punnery.'


'Impressive in his terse concreteness ... Hugely readable and never obfuscating.'

The Sunday Times

'This most enjoyable of books ... A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide.'

The Times

'The very book I have been looking for most of my life...Bryson wears his knowledge with aplomb and a lot of very good jokes.'

Daily Mail

'Bill Bryson has an unmatched gift for explaining the most difficult subjects in the clearest possible way. If, like me, your brain tends to go numb when faced with terms like plate tectonics, genome, relativity theory, big bang and particle physics, then it is more than likely that A Short History of Nearly Everything is the cure you have always been looking for...It deserves to sell as many copies as there are protons contained in the full stop that ends this review (at least 500,000,000,000).

Mail on Sunday

'Lucid, thoughtful and, above all, entertaining.'

The Scotsman

'I don't doubt that with A Short History of Nearly Everything he is plugging a gap in the market. As a result, several hundred thousand people will end up knowing a little bit more about the universe than they did before.'

Daily Telegraph

'One of the most impressive aspects of  A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING is the breadth of its coverage ... The huge number of readers who are likely to engage with this book will enjoy themselves while painlessly imbibing a lot of good science ... Sheer brilliance.'

The Times Higher

'It is one of the book's great achievements that Bryson is able to weave a satisfying universal narrative without sparing the reader one whit of scientific ignorance or doubt ... It represents a wonderful education, and all schools would be better places if it were the core science reader on the curriculum.'

The Times Literary Supplement

'The travel writer gives us a guide to "time, space, the world, the universe and everything". Bryson promises to make geology, chemistry and even particle physics fun and understandable. Move over Stephen Hawking.'

The story of one man trying to find out just what's going on, from the big bang to what the Earth's made of. Bryson breaks the facts down into simple, easy to digest sections and in the process makes himself sound like the coolest science teacher you ever had.


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