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A Short History of Nearly Everything (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/9/14


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   『A Short History of Nearly Everything』には、原始の「無」の時代から今この瞬間にいたるまでに「何が起こったか」、そして「人がそれをどう理解したか」がつづられている。ビル・ブライソンはこの大作を書き上げるために、一般の科学書から多様な分野の著名人へのインタビューにいたるまで、膨大な数の資料を用いた。

   人はこれまで科学という手段によって、微細な粒子から想像を絶する巨大な宇宙までを理解してきた。ブライソンが本書を書いた目的は、彼自身のような人たち、つまり、退屈な学校教科書や無味乾燥な解説文を嫌う人たちにも、科学の真価を味わってもらうことだった。彼はその目的を、個性とウイットにあふれる文章をとおして見事に成功させている。

   500ページを超える恐るべき大部で、どんな科学の本にもすでに書かれているような内容も含んでいるにもかかわらず、読んだ印象はまるでディテールにこだわった小説のようだ(さすがにプロットまではないが)。地球の年齢や細胞の働きなどをテーマにした長めの各章が、「地球の大きさ」「生命体そのもの」といったさらに大きなくくりのなかに分類されている。

   ブライソンは、『Life』(邦題『生命40億年全史』)や『Trilobite』(邦題『三葉虫の謎』)の著者リチャード・フォーティーといった専門家たちにインタビューを行っている。そうした記事が本書の魅力を増していることは確かだ。しかし、ブライソンの著述家としての才能が如実に現れているのは、科学史上最もすばらしく、最も厄介な戦い――コープとマーシュの戦い、コンウェイ・モリスとグールドの戦い――に踏み込んだ部分である。(Therese Littleton, Amazon.com) --このテキストは、 ハードカバー 版に関連付けられています。

内容紹介

One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer.

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trailwell, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understandand, if possible, answerthe oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

登録情報

  • ペーパーバック: 560ページ
  • 出版社: Broadway Books; Reprint版 (2004/9/14)
  • 言語: 英語, 英語, 英語
  • ISBN-10: 076790818X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275980528
  • 発売日: 2004/9/14
  • 商品パッケージの寸法: 15.5 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • おすすめ度: 5つ星のうち 4.0  レビューをすべて見る (3件のカスタマーレビュー)
  • Amazon ベストセラー商品ランキング: 洋書 - 24,636位 (洋書のベストセラーを見る)
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25 人中、23人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。 投稿者 インプットランナー 投稿日 2003/11/21
形式: ハードカバー
親しみやすい自然科学史だと思います。宇宙のから地球の誕生へとズームインし、さまざまな地学的現象の推移を背景に、極小生物なども含む生き物すべての進化・盛衰を生き生きと描いてあります。また、いろんな研究者の横顔も窺え、人間ドラマとしても楽しめます。
もしも学生時代の教科書にこの本が採用されていたら、私も恐らくもっと科学に興味を持っていたでしょう。生物が存在することが、どれ程の偶然(または必然?)を経てきたものかを読むに、今を生きていることに畏敬と感謝の念を禁じ得ません。ずばり、お勧めの一冊です。
コメント このレビューは参考になりましたか? はい いいえ 評価を送る...
フィードバックありがとうございました。 このレビューが不適切である場合は、当社までお知らせください。
申し訳ありませんが、お客様の投票の記録に失敗しました。もう一度試してください。
8 人中、7人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。 投稿者 piustangi 投稿日 2005/5/24
形式: ペーパーバック
A Short History of Nearly Everything is an enlightening, educational, entertaining, and easy to read book for readers who have a natural curiosity about life. I would recommend THE USURPER AD OTHER STORIES, a book from a different culture, which exposes and answers questions in a hilarious way, and makes you feel like you are involved in the telling and listening of the story.
1 コメント このレビューは参考になりましたか? はい いいえ 評価を送る...
フィードバックありがとうございました。 このレビューが不適切である場合は、当社までお知らせください。
申し訳ありませんが、お客様の投票の記録に失敗しました。もう一度試してください。
20 人中、15人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。 投稿者 ise 投稿日 2009/1/7
形式: ハードカバー
読んでいてため息が出てしまいました。
p323.「全体は結合する三つの部分または葉から出来ている。頭部、尾部、腹部でこのことから
(三葉虫の)名が付けられた」と。
アメリカのアマゾンコムですこぶる評判がよいので買ってみたのですが間違いでした。
読者の喜びそうなゴシップ話を集めたような本で、話の内容の信憑性など顧慮していません。
一応それらしく話の出所を後ろに書き出してはいますが。
日本の長岡半太郎もすっかりコケにされています。
イギリスのアマゾンコムに良心的な書評がありました。
「もし貴方が知識に払う金などないとしたら、そして、ただ科学のゴミ話や日付とか人名など
集めたいとしたら、その時は、悲しいけれど、この本は使い走りくらいの役には立つでしょう」
最近出た本で何か読みたいなら「Your inner Fish」をお勧めします。
同じアメリカ人ですが月とスッポンくらいの違いがあります。
コメント このレビューは参考になりましたか? はい いいえ 評価を送る...
フィードバックありがとうございました。 このレビューが不適切である場合は、当社までお知らせください。
申し訳ありませんが、お客様の投票の記録に失敗しました。もう一度試してください。

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Amazon.com: 1,691 件のカスタマーレビュー
706 人中、690人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Perhaps the Best Armchair Scientist Book I've Ever Read 2003/5/29
投稿者 Eric P. Neff - (Amazon.com)
形式: ハードカバー
I picked this one up expecting "good". Instead, I got one of the most delightful reading experiences in science that I have ever had. What a wonderful surprise.
Bryson tries to do what most school textbooks never manage to do, explain the context of science in a way that is relevant to the average person. At the beginning of the book, he recalls an event from his childhood when he looked at a school text and saw a cross-section of our planet. He was transfixed by it, but noticed that the book just dryly presented the facts ("This is the core." "This part is molten rock." "This is the crust.", etc.), but never really explained HOW science came to know this particular set of facts. That, he quite correctly points out, is the most interesting part. And that is story he sets out to tell in this book.
Bryson obviously spent a great deal of time and effort developing and checking his facts and presentation. He obviously enjoyed every minute of it too, and it shows. Never have I read a book where the author conveyed such joyful awe of what we have learned as a species (with the possible exception of some of Richard Feynman's books).
My benchmark for this kind of book is usually; How well does it explain modern physics? There are few books out there that manage to explain relativity, quantum mechanics and string theory in a way that doesn't make your eyes glaze over. The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav is the best of the lot in my opinion. While this book did not change my opinion, Bryson's explanations of these mind-bending theories are not only lucid and sensible, they are also full of his telltale tongue-in-cheek side comments and therefore are just plain fun to read. However, Bryson goes way beyond Zukav, focusing not only on physics, but on the full panoply of scientific disciplines. He also focuses more on the discoverers themselves, and the process of discovery.
One of the things I like about this book is that Bryson again and again makes sure credit is given where credit it due. For many discoveries, he tells us the "official" story, but also tells us the often untold story of the small-time scientist who got the idea first but, for whatever reason, never got credit. This happens a great deal in science, and Bryson appears to be on a quest to set the record straight when he can. The result is not only charming storytelling, it's got a certain justice that just feels good.
I didn't have huge expectations for this book, but I am delighted to report that it is one of the best of its kind. Hurrah to Bryson for writing it, and hurrah to me for stumbling on it.
216 人中、209人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
A Man Said to the Universe 2005/11/14
投稿者 William Holmes - (Amazon.com)
形式: ハードカバー
Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is beautifully written, very entertaining and highly informative--and now, it is lavishly illustrated as well.

Bryson is not a scientist, but rather a curious and observant writer who, several years ago, realized that he couldn't tell a quark from a quasar, or a proton from a protein. Bryson set out to cure his ignorance of things scientific, and the result was "A Short History of Nearly Everything," which was originally published in 2003.

For readers who are new to science and its history, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" contains one remarkable revelation after another. It is amazing how enormous, tiny, complex and just plain weird the universe is. Learning about "everything" is a humbling experience, and I kept thinking of Stephen Crane's blank verse: "A man said to the Universe: 'Sir, I exist!' 'However,' replied the Universe, 'the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.'"

Just as engaging as Bryson's story of what we know is the parallel story of how we know it--from the first clever experiments to figure out how much the earth weighs to today's ongoing efforts to describe the origins of the universe itself, it becomes obvious that science is not an answer but a process, a way of learning about a world that always seems to have one more trick up its sleeve.

Whatever else may be said about the universe, Bryson explains that learning about its mysteries is a very human endeavor. The book is peppered with tales of the odd turns, like Percival Lowell, the astronomer who saw canals on Mars when in fact there are none (and whose initials figured in the naming of "Pl"uto, the ninth planet); the Askesian Society, a learned 19th century body devoted to the study of laughing gas; and the knock-down, drag-out personal battles between scientists whose genius was rivaled only by their lack of civility.

This is a superb book and a quick read despite its length. The illustrated edition makes the journey all the more enjoyable.
178 人中、168人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
All that stuff we were supposed to have learned, but ... 2003/5/12
投稿者 David C. Hay - (Amazon.com)
形式: ハードカバー
I am a big fan of Bill Bryson's travelogues. I was therefore surprised when I cam across this, somewhat more weighty, tome. But I am pleased that I picked it up.
The author says he didn't do very well in science when he was in school because the teachers and texts seemed to be hiding all the good stuff. Now, as an adult, he's gone after the good stuff. And he's the guy to write it so the rest of us can understand. Not only does he write clearly, but he's very good at explaining as much as a normal person can understand (of relativity, for example), while pointing to the stuff that's weird, and setting aside the stuff that you have to be a specialist to understand.
He also is very good at giving credit to people who thought of things but were ignored until someone else came along and took credit. This has happened all too frequently, and it's good for the record to be set straight.
If you too were afraid of science, this is a wonderful book. If you already know a lot of this but just like to read enjoyable writing--it's also a wonderful book.
136 人中、127人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
Not Dumbed down. Gets you very excited about science. 2003/11/1
投稿者 Trip - (Amazon.com)
形式: ハードカバー
This book is the type of book that would inspire you to become a biologist or a geologist or an astronomer. From this book you are able to see bits and pieces of famous scientists lives and get a feeling by the end that its not all fun and games but at the same time it soooo very worth it to dedicate your life to the pursuit of furthering the knowledge of your fellow human beings and in some small way pushing our species in a positive direction. From reading this book you find out how all the knowledge from hundreds of years ago has become the basis of where we are today. This is conveyed extremely well to the audience. The other thing which is conveyed so very well is the power and destructive force of mother nature here on earth and in space. Parts of this book read better than seeing an end of the world movie because the author is so good at getting a vivid picture drawn in the reader's minds eye.
This book is so good and so comprehensive I can see myself reading this over again.
Thank you Bill Bryson for your hard, extensive research! Quite remarkable.
290 人中、263人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
An entertaining read, cautiously recommended 2005/7/14
投稿者 David Schaich - (Amazon.com)
形式: ペーパーバック
Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" has a lot of good points. It is above all a very entertaining and engaging read. Bryson writes in an informal, chatty style that at times reminded me of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. His subject is, essentially, life, the universe and (nearly) everything. Bryson aims to explore the history of science in general, summarizing not only what we know, but also how we know it - he sets himself the wonderful goal of trying to explain "how scientists work things out". It's a big task, and had Bryson accomplished it, this would have been an incredible book. As it is, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is still a worthwhile read, despite its flaws, which I will soon discuss.

The organization of the book is partly chronological, partly thematic. It is divided into six parts and thirty relatively short chapters. The earlier parts focus on the physical sciences, including astronomy, cosmology, geology, physics and physical chemistry. The latter half of the book deals primarily with the life sciences - biology, ecology, botany, zoology, oceanography, organic chemistry and so on. It's a considerable challenge to organize such a large amount of material dealing with so many distantly-related subjects, and Bryson pulls it off quite well. I can make no criticism of his large-scale organization.

However, the devil is in the details, and many of the details Bryson chooses to include in his "Short History" have little if anything to do with what he's supposedly writing about. He has a persistent tendency to head off on irrelevant tangents and lose himself in anecdotes about some of the curious characters that have walked the halls of science. Bryson wastes far too much ink relating bizarre factoids picked up in the course of his research, from William Buckland's dining habits to Gideon Mantell's twisted spine. He especially loves recounting the details of feuds and squabbles between scientists - the more intense, underhanded, unreasonable and destructive, the better. In all of this, the material we picked up the book to explore can get somewhat lost. Chapter 10, for instance, is "an important and salutary tale of avarice, deceit, bad science, several needless deaths, and the final determination of the age of the Earth" - in that order of importance.

Reading "A Short History of Nearly Everything", I did greatly appreciate Bryson's ability to make clear how much scientists don't know and are still working to figure out. However, I was disappointed that despite his promise to explore "how scientists work things out", Bryson often just quotes results and conclusions without further explanation. Sometimes he doesn't even do that - modern physics is largely dismissed as wacky and incomprehensible.

Even worse, Bryson makes several glaring errors in his discussion of physics (and perhaps also in other areas that I'm not so familiar with), far worse than any I've seen in other popular science books I've read. For example, he suggests particles with "spin" are actually spinning about an axis (which they are not) and presents entanglement as a violation of relativity (which it is not). Bryson also incorrectly claims that the production of black holes within future particle accelerators would destroy the world. In fact, these microscopic black holes would evaporate in a fraction of a nanosecond - something that would have been very nice to learn in "A Short History of Nearly Everything".

I enjoy reading popular science, and much of what I've read I've found better than Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything". I would especially recommend Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Alan Guth and Martin Rees for physics, astronomy and cosmology, and Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould for biology. However, I know of no other work that attempts to cover nearly as many fields as Bryson's "Short History". Even though Bryson's book wasn't able to live up to its initial promise, it was a decent read - one I recommend, though with some reservations.
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