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Extended Audio Sample A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00001243332629 out of 54.00001243332629 out of 54.00001243332629 out of 54.00001243332629 out of 54.00001243332629 out of 5 4.00 (80,429 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bill Bryson Narrator: Richard Matthews, Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Bill Bryson is an ambitious man. A book with the title "A Short History of Nearly Everything" can't be written by any other sort of person. The hardcover printed edition weighs in at 478 pages, not including notes or index, and the audiobook runs to almost 18 hours--and a very enjoyable 18 hours they are!

Of course, even at ten times that length, he can't talk about everything, which is why the book is about "nearly everything". Still, he does his best within the confines of his subject. He stays mostly to the physical sciences. In chapters tellingly and entertainingly labeled with titles such as "How to Build a Universe", "Good-bye to All That", "The Stuff of Life", and "The Mysterious Biped", Bryson takes us from atoms to galaxies, chemistry to biology.

Rather than a dry rendition of what we know, he gives us an entertaining account of how we know it, which leads the reader along the path of the history of modern science, and the fascinating men and women who shaped it.

Bill Bryson, born in America in 1951, is a popular author of non-fiction books. He moved to England in the 1970s and has lived there almost ever since. His earliest books were notes on his travels through Europe and America, but he has since branched out into well-respected books on language, history, and science. His trademark humor puts the listener at ease and makes a subject which might be weighty or even boring in other hands a sheer delight to listen to.

A fascinating exploration of life, the universe, and, well, everything, Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" will keep you fascinated from beginning to end, and give you a whole new perspective on the world around us.

One of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer.

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In In a Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book yet, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, and apprenticed himself to their powerful minds.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Stylish [and] stunningly accurate prose. We learn what the material world is like from the smallest quark to the largest galaxy and at all the levels in between . . . brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing. The New York Times
  • Bryson has made a career writing hilarious travelogues, and in many ways his latest is more of the same, except that this time Bryson hikes through the world of science. People
  • Bryson is surprisingly precise, brilliantly eccentric and nicely eloquent . . . a gifted storyteller has dared to retell the world’s biggest story. Seattle Times
  • Hefty, highly researched and eminently readable. Simon Winchester, The Globe and Mail
  • All non-scientists (and probably many specialized scientists, too) can learn a great deal from his lucid and amiable explanations. National Post
  • "Bryson is a terrific stylist. You can’ t help but enjoy his writing, for its cheer and buoyancy, and for the frequent demonstration of his peculiar, engaging turn of mind. Ottawa Citizen
  • Wonderfully readable. It is, in the best sense, learned. Winnipeg Free Press
  • “[A Short History of Nearly Everything] is a crash course in the basics of climatology, chemistry, biology, botany, geology and physics. Bryson’s enthusiasm is infectious, his explanations simple. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get them. The Citizen’s Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joanna | 2/20/2014

    " Fascinating book, well organized and fun. Heard the whole thing as audiobook. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Peter Harben | 2/20/2014

    " Bill Bryson shows how to explain complex concepts in a clear and entertaining way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by David Stanley | 2/19/2014

    " My prejudice - I love Bryson. I can see hanging with him, drinking a pint and trading pub tales. This book is entirely Bryson but much more disciplined. He has a love for nature and the scientific realm which shines through. I taught a variety of science classes. I could quite easily have thrown out our textbooks and used the appropriate sections of this book. Easily the most enjoyable 'non-science guy" book I've read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Canice | 2/6/2014

    " Re-read this several times... I love how is it seemingly comprehensive but concise and always with humor. "

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