I've been reading a lot about philosophy recently and to be honest my studies of this subject seem to have led me ,almost inexorably, to study science in more detail. Science, and physics especially, seem to be at the forefront of asking the big questions traditionally asked by philosophers , such as "Does God exist ?" "How and why does the universe exist ? ,"How did the human race come about ?" and "Is there a meaning to life ?" Stephen Hawking's book uses theoretical physics to try to answer most of these questions. A lot of this book went over my head somewhat. I only have GCE "O" Level Physics , so I found much of Hawking's discussions about Einstein's Theory of Relativity, String Theory and M Theory etc. quite difficult , although I sort of got the gist of much of it. This guy(and his co-author) has an amazing intellect and knowledge of the physical world and a lot of the answers to the "big questions" are in there. I intend to re-read this book, maybe a couple more times, and try to get my head around it all and I would be surprised if the general reader with little scientific knowledge would be any different. "Philosophy is dead" states Hawking in the opening pages of this book and I can see what he's getting at, although I wouldn't be qualified to judge if he's correct or not. Theres no real place for "God" in this book as Hawking believes that life is quite capable of being generated spontaneously and he points out that the existence of any supreme "God" will always be met with the question of "Who created God ?" - ad infinitum. I personally think that interfering aliens were behind most of the world's religions, pretending to be sovereign deities who created the world a few thousand years ago ,and Hawkings book confirmed my beliefs in this respect.