A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I took this book with me to a little island up north in Canada, which I had the luxury and privilege to occupy for an entire week (well, I had to help replace the roof, but that was good for me). Bill Bryson is in his element, much as Tom Friedman is in his, journalist to the deep thinkers; our correspondent at the fringes. I feel that I'm belittling Bryson with that comparison, since, unlike Friedman, Bryson seems to have no investment in any statuses; quo, ante, post. He resurrects his own fascination with not a subject, but an entire set of subjects, which were destroyed for him as they were for so many of us, by being diced up and normalized by the education industry. His is the anti-textbook. By it's end, the reader has gained an immeasurably enriched understanding of just what's going on with understanding as the humankind-wide effort that it really always has to be. And at that brink you realize - you, the reader - that our challenges are all about how we will or will not learn to resolve our differences, with each other and with the planet. And these are not technical challenges. Which is why we should be so grateful for such clear reporting from our fringes. Bravo!
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