My Brief History Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of My Brief History

This is the story of Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist and pop culture phenomenon, who has to overcome the challenge of ALS and a prognosis of one year to live at the age of 21. He is a genuis who has to learn to live with this severe disability while revolutionizing the laws of physics and the study of black holes.
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Stephen grew up with a loving family in a typical English setting during the post-WWII years. He did not show much signs of genuis as a child, partially because his school work was so easy that he didn't care to do it. However, he had a fascination with taking things apart and putting them together again. He did his undergraduate work at Oxford, and admits that he did not put nearly the effort into his studies that he should have. An immense personal change occurred when he was diagnosed with ALS. This was a turning point in which he realized that he needed a passion in life and a reason to live. His answer came in the form of his to-be wife, Jane, and in pouring himself into the study of theoretical physics.

Hawking went on to do graduate work at Cambridge, where he eventually held the Lucasian Chair, the same chair that Isaac Newton once held. He spent a few years at Cal Tech in California, where his disability became increasingly severe. Most of his work centered on the thing that fascinated his imagination: black holes and the Big Bang. Unfortunately, he and his wife Jane divorced, and a few years later he remarried.

The public became fascinated with Stephen Hawking during the 1980's, with the publication of his bestseller A Brief History of Time. Many people have drawn inspiration from his ability to overcome his year to live prognosis and accomplish so much with his severe handicap. However, Hawking does not draw much attention to this point at all.
Best part of story, including ending: Stephen Hawking is one of my heroes. I love reading about how he was able to live beyond his physical limitations.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when he was promoted to the Lucasian chair at Cambridge.

Opinion about the main character: Stephen Hawking turned his disability into an advantage. Because he could no longer use a pen and paper or a computer to work out highly complex equations, he learned to see the equations as pictures and was able to go so much further than previously possible.

The review of this Book prepared by Keri L Ladner a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of My Brief History

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Plot & Themes

job/profession:    -   scientist/inventor Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Period of greatest activity?    -   1950+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scientist Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   British Unusual characteristics:    -   Genius


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   1 () United States    -   Yes Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Misc setting    -   scientific labs Century:    -   1980's-Present

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   encouraged How much dialogue in bio?    -   little dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   51%-75% of book

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Stephen Hawking Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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