Many years ago someone I respect a lot told me to read this book.
I had read it before and I didn’t understand why it had any significance. The book is a well written summary of the history of science.
When I finished, I was told that I must understand that every part of this story is false in some way.
There are a lot of people criticizing things like evolution, for example, yet they clearly don’t thoroughly understand what the mainstream points really are. We look foolish when we attack theories that are well published. The atheists and such are well equipped with their arguments, and too often the alternative people haven’t bothered to really understand their arguments.
I do believe that every mainstream theory is false in some way, but I felt much more equipped to handle the conspiracy theories because I was well acquainted with the mainstream story.
You will find the contents of this book in any textbook, but Bryson is an excellent writer and makes it easy to understand the whole story start to finish. If there’s one book you want to read to understand what the mainstream of science believes and why, this is the book.