Short History of
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Bryson
All rights reserved under International
and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.
Published in the United States of America by
andom House Large Print in association with
Broadway Books, New York and simultaneously
in Canada by Random House of
Canada Limited, Toronto.
Distributed by Random House, Inc., New York.
The Library of Congress has established a
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As I sit here, in early 2003, I have before me several pages of manuscript bearing majestically
encouraging and tactful notes from Ian Tattersal of the American Museum of Natural History
pointing out, inter alia, that Perigueux is not a wineproducing region, that it is inventive but a
touch unorthodox of me to italicize taxonomic divisions above the level of genus and species,
that I have persistently misspelled Olorgesaille, a place that I recently visited, and so on in
similar vein through two chapters of text covering his area of expertise, early humans.
Goodness knows how many other inky embarrassments may lurk in these pages yet, but it
is thanks to Dr. Tattersall and all of those whom I am about to mention that there aren't many
hundreds more. I cannot begin to thank adequately those who helped me in the preparation of
this book. I am especially indebted to the following, who were uniformly generous and kindly
and showed the most heroic reserves of patience in answering one simple, endlessly repeated
question: "I'm sorry, but can you explain that again?"
In the United States: Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History in New
York; John Thorstensen, Mary K. Hudson, and David Blanchflower of Dartmouth College in
Hanover, New Hampshire; Dr. William Abdu and Dr. Bryan Marsh of Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire; Ray Anderson and Brian Wi