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A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

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Hardcover published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House Children's Books)

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About This Book
Enter the world of science as Bill Bryson unmasks the mysteries of the universe.

Did you know that:

• Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

• If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

And—What happened to dinosaurs? How big is the universe? Why are oceans salty? Is a meteor going to hit us?

Tackling everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill Bryson’s inimitable storytelling skill makes the why, how, and, just as importantly, the who of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for young readers.
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Enter the world of science as Bill Bryson unmasks the mysteries of the universe.

Did you know that:

• Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

• If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

And—What happened to dinosaurs? How big is the universe? Why are oceans salty? Is a meteor going to hit us?

Tackling everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill Bryson’s inimitable storytelling skill makes the why, how, and, just as importantly, the who of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for young readers.
Product Details
Hardcover (176 pages)
Published: October 27, 2009
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Imprint: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780385738101
Other books byBill Bryson
  • The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

    The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
    A Memoir
    From one of the world's most beloved writers and New York Times bestselling author of One Summer, a vivid, nostalgic, and utterly hilarious memoir of growing up in the 1950s Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century—1951—in the middle of the United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in the middle of the largest generation in American history—the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons)—in his head—as "The Thunderbolt Kid." Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality—a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances (not to mention nuclear weapons) grew larger and more numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you. He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home. The many readers of Bill Bryson’s earlier classic, A Walk in the Woods, will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-do attitude to gleefully destructive ends. Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch-perfect observations, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.

    At Home

    At Home
    A Short History of Private Life
    With his signature wit, charm, and seemingly limitless knowledge, Bill Bryson takes us on a room-by-room tour through his own house, using each room as a jumping off point into the vast history of the domestic artifacts we take for granted. As he takes us through the history of our modern comforts, Bryson demonstrates that whatever happens in the world eventually ends up in our home, in the paint, the pipes, the pillows, and every item of furniture. Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and his sheer prose fluency makes At Home one of the most entertaining books ever written about private life.

    A Walk in the Woods

    A Walk in the Woods
    Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
    The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaing guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

    Shakespeare

    Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare, the most celebrated poet in the English language, left behind nearly a million words of text, but his biography has long been a thicket of wild supposition arranged around scant facts. With a steady hand and his trademark wit, Bill Bryson sorts through this colorful muddle to reveal the man himself. Bryson documents the efforts of earlier scholars, from today's most respected academics to eccentrics like Delia Bacon, an American who developed a firm but unsubstantiated conviction that her namesake, Francis Bacon, was the true author of Shakespeare's plays. Emulating the style of his famous travelogues, Bryson records episodes in his research, including a visit to a bunkerlike room in Washington, D.C., where the world's largest collection of First Folios is housed. Bryson celebrates Shakespeare as a writer of unimaginable talent and enormous inventiveness, a coiner of phrases ("vanish into thin air," "foregone conclusion," "one fell swoop") that even today have common currency. His Shakespeare is like no one else's—the beneficiary of Bryson's genial nature, his engaging skepticism, and a gift for storytelling unrivaled in our time.

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