I've long been a fan of Bill Bryson and his dry, not-quite-Amercian, not-quite-British wit, and this is possibly his best book to date. As he notes in the introduction, one day he was struck by the arresting thought that he knew very little about the world worked; didn't know a protein from a proton. He was seized with an urge to find out just not what we know, but how on Earth they manage to figure it all out... How do they know these things?
Years later, we get this book. Like the title suggests, it covers a great deal, from the beginning of the universe to the modern day, changing at physics, chemistry, biology, evolution, and astronomy along the way. And in his own inimitable style, Bryson spends equally as much time looking at the people in history who developed all these theories, and the eccentric character quirks that they had.
For a book about such deep subjects, it's incredibly easy (and dare I say even fun) to read, and if you've ever wondered about these things yourself, it comes recommended highly as a good place to start.