After reading some reviews of this book before I borrowed it, I was prepared to be slightly put off by gushing prose and "preciousness", however, aside from the author's overuse of the word "luscious", (which, to be fair, was probably only used twice, but it felt like a dozen), I was really pleased by this book. I expected a short and sweet account of the universe, and that is what I got. It didn't always manage to hold my attention; there were several times where I would get lost in thought or taken on tangent daydreams after a particularly striking image from the book. There were also many times where I'd be struck by that feeling of awe and mild terror you get when you look at the stars for long enough and remember that you are so tiny and insignificant, and that was pretty great. There was a rather moving moment towards the end of the book when, after having gone through the journey of the universe and demonstrated the role which everything had on earth until humans began to shape it to their liking, Swimme muses on what is next for us now that we have a greater perception of time and our effect on the world: Our puzzlement regarding our destiny is especially poignant since everything else in the universe seems to have a role. The primeval fireball had the work of bringing forth stable matter. The stars had the work of creating the elements. The same is true on Earth. Each species has its unique role to play for the larger community. The phytoplankton in the oceans fill the air with oxygen and thus enable every animal to breathe. That is their great work, to fill each lung with nourishing breath.But do we humans have such a role? With respect to the universe itself - is there a reason for our existence? Is there a great work required of us? (p. 112)It was an interesting and thought-provoking book. Not a textbook by any means, though I did learn a lot (the moon is a chunk of smashed-off earth? Is that common knowledge? I feel like I'm the last person to know this!). It's the kind of book I'd like to buy so that I can re-read it every now and then to remind myself how strange and wonderful the world really is ... especially in such times as now, when the world just seems like a giant, waggling middle finger.