Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

The Illustrated A Brief History of Time / The Universe in a Nutshell – Two Books in One

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
November 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Stephen Hawking
Total Pages: 
Bantam Books

For this illustrated edition, Stephen Hawking prepared a new introduction (dated 1996) to BHT and wrote an entirely new chapter on wormholes and time travel. This edition is enhanced with more than 240 full-color illustrations. It was a gift book. (For his books I’ve read, click on his name.)

This two-book illustrated hardcover edition has this Amazon website:

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The home page has a compact summary (click on ‘Read more’). Amazon does not offer the ‘Look inside’ option for this two-book illustrated edition (hardcover only).

My reviews of the original editions of these two books are: A Brief History of Time (1998 edition, reread in June 2005 and reviewed later as book 106) and The Universe in a Nutshell (2001 edition, also reread in June 2005 and reviewed later as book 107). Here I should mention that I had earlier reviewed more than a hundred books as Microsoft Word documents that were only added to my website at a much later date.

I enjoyed reading this illustrated two-book edition. I found the many new full-color illustrations to provide useful additions to the original versions. Perhaps they may provide the extra insight needed for a lay reader to better grasp concepts Stephen Hawking discussed in the text. But they had little effect on my understanding of Hawking’s thoughts and words in the text. All of the original illustrations still retain the ‘chapter.figure’ numbers, such as Fig. 1.5. The many additional illustrations are very well done and may well either reinforce the original insight or provide that ‘extra’ insight that some lay readers may need.

For any lay readers who had found it difficult to understand Stephen Hawking’s first editions of these two books, I suggest they regard this two-book edition with its many ‘new’ illustrations as two books that should be easier for them to understand. Keep in mind what I learned in college and grad school – a second reading of a textbook on nearly any scientific (or mathematical) topic is more fully grasped upon a second (or maybe a third) reading. If you are still interested in Stephen Hawking’s speculations (or perhaps ‘dreams’ is a better word choice) this book may be of more help than were the two originals.

With this ‘extra insight’ in mind I rate this two-book illustrated edition at four stars.