40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Compared to Bill Bryson,
This review is from: Science: A History 1543 - 2001 (Paperback)
Having read Gribbin's Science and Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything in the last few months its interesting to contrast the two, which are approximately the same length.
Gribbin firstly is a professional scientist and Bryson a popularist. Unsurprisingly then Gribbin's book has the more authoritative air about it. However Bryson's is undoubtedly more entertaining and is packed with fascinating facts, continuing to illustrate how amazing the world we live in is. Gribbin frequently doesn't explain things as well, he assumes - sometimes I presume without realising it - that the reader knows certain facts. Bryson explains everything from first principles as that's the way he has had to learn it to write the book. Gribbin instead effectively has written a lot of mini-biographies of the scientists he's selected, and perhaps not put as much into what they did as Bryson.
One criticism of this book is that it is very biased towards the physical sciences, especially physics. Other than Darwinism and a bit about DNA and genetics, there is very little outside Gribbin's own subject. Bryson's book seems to have a much broader scope.
In summary if I was studying for a History of Science degree I would plump for Gribbin's book. If I wanted a good read for a desert island I'd go from Bryson's.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Feb 2010 11:25:48 GMT
Mrs. R. Coleman says:
I was just wondering whether to buy Bryson's book or this one and you have helped me make up my mind! Thank you.
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 12:03:58 BDT
Mister G says:
I have read both and enjoyed both. They offer different things and complement each other. If you hated science at school I'd suggest Bryson's book first as he's a popularist. But Gribbin's book is very accessible and I'd read it too if you liked Bryson's book.
I respectfully disagree with tying in Gribbin's book to a History of Science degree as that will put people off. I found Gribbin's book a very easy read and nothing like the common perception of reading a science book. It was fascinating.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›