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A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Richard Matthews

18 Hours 20 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

February 2003


Audio Book Summary

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, 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, 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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  • Manasi Kashyap

    What an incredibly informative book!! My list of things to read up on is now a staggering size. This (along with Radio Lab) is going to be compulsory listening for my children - I don't believe a classroom education comes close! Also, a British narrator is a big plus :) Than you Bill!

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  • Melissa Porchia

    Loved every minute. There is so much intreguing info I could listen to it again!

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  • P S.

    I’ve listened to this book a few times and learn something new every time.

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  • Anonymous

    absolutely amazing

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  • Thomas W.


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  • Lee W

    Sadly, I have yet to hear another reader use the same intonation and other vocal effects that Bill Bryson does. The book is wonderful.

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  • Ellyssa Tebbs

    This book was fantastic to listen to. If only science had been this interesting in high school! I found myself looking forward to getting into the car so I could continue with the story. Narrator had a great voice as well. If you have a casual interest in science I think you will find this as entertaining as I did.

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  • Wilfredo Cespedes

    Great to instruct the mind that wants to know? I recommend this book for all curious minds that want to know more than what they know without becoming stuck in boring data. I am enjoying the knowledge and questions raised, most of all the historical record and our present knowledge. I hope you will too.

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  • Anonymous

    This book is a must for all! It was great. The narrator is excellent. Both my husband and I loved the educational information.

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  • Donn Edwards

    I have both the abridged and unabridged versions, although I prefer the abridged version. It provides a fascinating overview of scientific discovery, and pieces it all together in an excellent way. I have listened to this book several times, and enjoyed each time thoroughly. If you are interested in how things work, this is a must.

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