Review: ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ by Bill Bryson

Welcome. And congratulations. I am delighted that you could make it. Getting here wasn’t easy, I know. In fact, I suspect it was a little tougher than you realise.

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can’t contain his curiosity about the world around him. ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilisation – how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. In an amusing, conversational style he takes us from the origin of the universe through to the rise of the naked ape. Along the way he touches on everything from physics to geology, and from biology to archaeology.

Entertaining as well as informative, Bryson has mastered the art of story-telling. He has a confident grasp of fine details and is able to present them in a way that does not swamp the reader. This book is an ideal introduction to the history of our planet for someone who is curious to find out more, but who does not possess any specialist knowledge.

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