Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Jupiter Scientific
Mark R. Leeper
Hugh Ross
ninetyandnine.com

Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time

It's getting on for 20 years since Hawking wrote 'A brief history of time', but on rereading it now it doesn't seem that dated. Possibly this is because Hawking isn't trying to tell us the latest theories of the universe, rather he's explaining the basics of the subject in simple terms. (This relates to the original 1988 edition - there is now a 1998 edition which does include some of the new discoveries). Now I know that this book has the reputation of often being unfinished by readers, but they can't be trying very hard - as science books go it's one of the easiest to follow that I've read. That said there is 'A briefer history of time' with less text and more pictures. Also 'Black holes and baby universes' is more autobiographical, and so some people might find it easier to follow.

'A brief history of time' starts with chapters on cosmology, and moves on to quantum theory, particle physics and black holes. The later chapters look at Hawking's own work on the thermodynamics of black holes, as well as string theory and the inlationary theory of the origin of the universe.

I guess that if the book were written now then the publisher would insist on having the word 'God' in the title - the word occurs pretty often in the text itself. Its hard to tell what Hawking's beliefs are, but at least there's not too much in the way of phoney theology which you often find in such books.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 212 pages  
ISBN: 0553380168
Salesrank: 2198
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 1998 Bantam
Amazon price $8.18
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0553175211
Salesrank: 245856
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 1995 Bantam
Marketplace:New from £4.37:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 240 pages  
ISBN: 0553380168
Salesrank: 936
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 1998 Bantam
Amazon price CDN$ 16.31
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 13.69:Used from CDN$ 0.73
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Product Description

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.