Beginnings: The Story of Origins--of Mankind, Life, the Earth, the Universe

Beginnings: The Story of Origins--of Mankind, Life, the Earth, the Universe
by Isaac Asimov

Walker & Co.
YA-T, GA **


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If you are looking for a simple, delightful, nontechnical account of the origins of just about everything, read Beginnings. Once again, Asimov has demonstrated his incredible writing talent. The book begins with the origins of human flight and then, in a series of logically connected chapters, moves smoothly through the origins of human history, humankind, animals and plants, cells, and the earth, with the ending on the origin of the universe. Each chapter provides all of the background information needed to understand the ideas presented, as well as a collection of little-known "pearls of wisdom" that emphasize how thoroughly the topics were researched. Of particular value is the continual stress on two themes: that it is most difficult to determine the precise beginning of any innovation or idea since almost all innovations can be traced back to those that have come before; and that most things in our universe, living as well as nonliving, develop slowly over long periods in accordance with normal physical and chemical principles. Beginnings is by no means a textbook or technical book; rather, it can serve as ideal supplementary reading for a variety of high-school or college courses or even as pleasant reading for the teachers of such courses.

--Reviewed by Nathan Dubowsky in Science Books and Films, 24/1 (September/October 1988), p. 24.