Saturday, 19 October 2013

My Brief History Review

Review By Patrick Challis

Written By Stephen Hawking

Published By Random House, Bantam Dell

Autobiography, Science


Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.

My Brief History recounts Stephen Hawking’s improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty, and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of physics and cosmology.

Writing with characteristic humility and humor, Hawking opens up about the challenges that confronted him following his diagnosis of ALS at age twenty-one. Tracing his development as a thinker, he explains how the prospect of an early death urged him onward through numerous intellectual breakthroughs, and talks about the genesis of his masterpiece A Brief History of Time—one of the iconic books of the twentieth century.

Clear-eyed, intimate, and wise, My Brief History opens a window for the rest of us into Hawking’s personal cosmos.


When I heard that Stephen Hawking had finally written his autobiography, I couldn't wait to to get my hands on it so that I could read it.

Well the title is definitely apt because at 120+ pages, this is a much shorter book than I was expecting yet Hawking get's so much in to such a short page count that as soon as I had finished it, I wanted to read it again.

The sheer honesty and humility in this book astounded me.  He really held nothing back and at the same time, doesn't once come across as having a big ego.  I loved reading about his youth and his early years before his illness hit.  I hadn't read all that much about that in the past, only a bit here and there, so the things written about here were mostly new to me and I loved it.  The easy flowing writing style made it seem more like you were sat having a talk to him instead of reading a book.

As well as the superb writing, there are some absolutely fantastic archival photographs collected in to this book.  Like I said before with the writing, the photographs of Hawking when he was young and healthy were an absolute joy to see.  The sheer amount of life and energy that burst off of the page amazed me and helped to show just how truly brave a man Hawking truly is.  He really comes across as someone that is so strong mentally as well as being massively intelligent.

One of the main strengths of the book is that it dispels some of the misconceptions and myths that have been floated around about the man himself over the years and also that he really goes in to detail about his family life and how he felt at certain moments in his life.

If you are a fan of Stephen Hawking then you really should get this book as not only does it dispel some common mistakes that people hold in their minds about him but it's also heartwarming and completely honest.  I also loved the inclusion of the photographs and just how the easy writing style manages to get so much information in to such a short page count.  Positively superb.

Presentation 8/10
Informative 9/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 26/30

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