"A surprisingly difficult read for such a best-selling book, but one that touches upon... origins, cosmology, time, entropy, [and] thermodynamics." -- Eric Chaisson Cosmic Evolution (p. 267)I received several emails from theists (and have seen various websites) which led me to believe that this book would somehow show that God is not only plausible--but probable. After reading it, I really don't know how someone (especially a Christian) could come to such a conclusion based on Hawking. The book doesn't say much about God and when it does, Hawking uses the word as a symbol rather than as a description of some sort of real entity or being. He certainly doesn't believe in any sort of personal God. He states in a couple of places that from our observations, we can see that there is nothing in the Universe for a God to do or create. Anyway, the book isn't about God so I'll end my comments on theology and turn to what the book really is about--cosmology.
Carl Sagan provides the introduction which, after reading, left me very excited to read the book. The rest of the book however didn't excite me as much as I had hoped. The first and last chapters were very interesting, but the stuff in between was, at times, lacking in comprehendability for non-scientists. I sometimes felt like I was reading a physics textbook that didn't go into enough detail, background, or show enough examples to allow me to feel like I was getting much out of it. Someone without any knowledge of physics will find much of the book difficult to fully grasp.
The portions I most enjoyed were the sections that dealt more with the history of people's evolving thoughts on the universe and the history of science. After the conclusion chapter (which is actually more of a summary than conclusion), Hawking includes several two page biographies on famous scientists such as: Einstein, Galileo, and Newton. He follows these brief biographies with a glossary of the scientific terms he uses throughout the book.
I disagree with this page's "Critique of Hawking's view", but the author provides a summary of the book chapters so that I don't need to repeat the information here.
Stephen Hawking's Universe