This is a beautiful book with magnificent illustrations. In fact one can not resist to buy it when you see it on the bookshelves. The name of Stephen Hawking increases your expectations even further. The first chapter about Einstein is well written and easy to understand but then everything suddenly goes haywire. Hawking tries unsuccesfully to explain very complex ideas in simple terms with the help of illustrations. I have read many books (some that even include mathematics) on this subject matter and even with this background I found it difficlt to grasp imaginary time and p-branes. If you want nice pictures and more informative text then buy Space - Our Final Fontier and if you want to dig in deeper and really try and understand string theory then buy the Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
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