Mark's Reviews > A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
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's review
Oct 19, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, science
Read from August 24 to October 18, 2010

Another of those fascinating science for laymen books. With a huge scope, Bryson surveys almost every field of modern science and discusses what we now know, how we got to this point, and what we're still trying to figure out. He more or less starts broadly by looking at the formation of the universe and works toward the more specific, narrowing to the history of the earth and life upon it and finally to humankind.

I have previously read books on physics, particularly on subjects like cosmology and quantum physics, and I can say that while Bryson's survey of these subjects is fascinating, it hardly scratches the surface of some of the remarkable advances being made in these fields. Luckily, he references numerous other sources that interested readers can go to for more detailed study. The main strength of this book is that Bryson covers so many fields and he does a wonderful job of synthesizing them.

As a side note, there are a couple chapters interspersed in the middle of the book somewhere that discusses the chances of various catastrophes (meteors, giant volcanoes, climate changes, etc.) happening to earth and their likely effects. He bases these discussions primarily on the earth's track record for such events. These chapters were simultaneously fascinating and horrifying. They were my favorites in the book.

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