A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I hate science, but thanks to Bill Bryson, I devoured a 500 page book about it. Humorous anecdotes, eccentric scientists, fascinating footnotes, and a delightful way with words and images that engage and amuse. Bryson writes to the reader who comes to the table with no aptitude for science just a desire to learn. I drew different conclusions than he did and don’t agree with his evolutionary bent, but I enjoyed the read just the same. I wish this had been my text in school and Bryson had been my professor. I recommend this book for the life-long learner and curious reader. Great stuff!
“Nearly every line he penned was an invitation to slumber” (p. 63).
“It is hard to imagine now, but geology excited the nineteenth century – positively gripped it – in a way that no science ever had before or would again” (p. 67).
“Perhaps nothing in natural history has been at the center of fiercer and more enduring hatreds than the line of ancient beasts known as the dinosaurs” (p. 87).
“I’m afraid this is the stop on the knowledge highway where most of us must get off” (p. 167).
“The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can’t quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don’t altogether know, filled with matter we can’t identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand” (p. 172).