I would not normally recommend a book on the history of the universe as beach reading, but David Christian’s “Origin Story” is a welcome exception.

Christian has achieved something remarkable: an engaging guide to the physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, linguistics and sociology that constitute the story of history itself. The author practices what he calls “Big History”—gathering the Big Bang, the advent of molecules, plate tectonics, eukaryotes, dinosaurs, Homo sapiens, climate dynamics and globalization into one sweeping arc. In roughly 300 pages. With no equations.

It is wildly ambitious. And, in the end, not ambitious enough.

(continue reading)

Icon-O