In A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson undertakes the task of explaining every noteworthy event from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization or as he puts it “…how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” Bryson explains his reasoning for writing the books was because he was discontented with the textbook version of science that failed to explain how everything came to be and why it was that way. He then devoted three years to research in order to write a book in which science can be described in a comprehensible way.
This is a vast amount of information and to better organize it Bryson has split the book into VI acts. Act I is about the universe, the speculations about how the universe was created, and other astronomical occurrences. Act II is about geology, paleontology, and scientists quests to determine the proper age of the Earth. Act III is about physics, chemistry, and the formation of plate tectonics. Act IV consists of information on the true nature of asteroid impacts, dinosaur extinction, and volcanic eruptions especially that of Yellowstone National Park. Act V covers a multitude of topics covering *ahem* nitrogen narcosis, atmosphere, oceanography, DNA, bacteria, cells, extinction, Darwin’s singular theory, and Mendel genes. Act VI is about ice ages, human fossils, human origins, human role in extinction of animals, and that we as humans are lucky to be here.
Once again I have to write another report to write and once again I’m throwing all traditional rules for writing out the window. I’m letting go of structure and guideline and just writing; with that out of the way let’s begin. I greatly enjoyed this book. In order to properly understand the magnitude of that statement you need to know a few more details. One, I abhor non-fiction with a burning passion and A Short History of Nearly Everything is non-fiction. Two, my choices in literature are usually fiction in the most fantastical way and three, when it comes to science I have usually been woefully indifferent. So again I state, I greatly enjoyed this book. I had come across an excerpt of the book and found it intriguing so I decided to give it a read and I am glad I did.
This book was well written and Bryson used layman’s terms to describe some of sciences most confusing topics in a way that I could understand. I think that the intended audience for the book is normal people who would like to know the how’s and why’s behind science. Bryson relays factual information with a witty and humorous air that makes you pause in your reading and smile. The overall writing style is educational and professional without being vague or snooty.
What I liked best about the book was the way it...