Bill Bryson really does manage to cover 'nearly everything' in this 544 tome. From the big bang, through earthquakes to fossils and extinct animals, convering just about everything inbetween. Not everything was equally interest as some chapters caught my attention more than others, but I definitely learned a lot. (How much I will retain is a different matter altogether).This isn't "light reading" in any sense of the phrase. Bryson endeavours to make the science as approachable as possible, but you can only take it so far. I was glad I had at least a vague background in science or I think parts of it would have been (even more) difficult to follow.He does manage to make it current though, and adds lots of amusing anecdotes to make it easier to relate to. I kept reading interesting passages out loud to my husband (also a science geek), and even laughing out loud at times... especially when he started sounding like he was channelling Douglas Adams.It took me awhile, but I'm glad I finally finished it. Very rewarding read.