Bill Bryson A Short History of Nearly Everything

Last updated date: July 19, 2019

DWYM Score
9.6

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We looked at the top 1 Short Books and dug through the reviews from 6 of the most popular review sites including Publishers Weekly, Universe Today, Kirkus Reviews, Book Browse, The Loopy Librarian, Serious Reading and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Short Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 37 expert reviews, the Bill Bryson Bill Bryson A Short History of Nearly Everything placed 1st when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 19, 2019:
Checkout The Best Short Book for a detailed review of all the top short books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.1
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
3,326 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Bryson relies on some of the best material in the history of science to have come out in recent years. This is great for Bryson fans, who can encounter this material in its barest essence with the bonus of having it served up in Bryson's distinctive voice
- Publishers Weekly
The writing is clear, entertaining, and never slips into industry jargon – if anything, Bryson underestimates the reader and explains some concepts a little more than he needs to.
- Universe Today
September 26, 2003 | Full review
Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.
- Kirkus Reviews
May 20, 2010 | Full review
It's a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization
- Book Browse
Humorous anecdotes, eccentric scientists, fascinating footnotes, and a delightful way with words and images that engage and amuse.
- The Loopy Librarian
July 19, 2019 | Full review
There are concepts and their history, then the history of those concepts and then more concepts. The 548-page book is filled with all such answers on how did we come to know about all this and who made such discoveries in the first place.
- Serious Reading
What experts didn't like
But readers in the field will already have studied this information more in-depth in the originals and may find themselves questioning the point of a breakneck tour of the sciences that contributes nothing novel.
- Publishers Weekly
I drew different conclusions than he did and don’t agree with his evolutionary bent, but I enjoyed the read just the same.
- The Loopy Librarian
July 19, 2019 | Full review
A Short History of Nearly Everything is for everyone who know very little of science but is eager to learn.
- Serious Reading

From The Manufacturer

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton

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