I should here confess that as a math major I took a course from Professor Osserman on linear algebra about 30 years ago. His teaching style then mirrored his writing style in this book--calm, understated, confident.

Additionally, I probably never thanked him at the time for giving me a great math experience during that course. (For non-mathematicians who haven't had such an experience, let me assure you that there is exhilaration in struggling with an initially complicated mathematical idea that suddenly becomes crystal clear.)

So, belatedly, if you're reading this review, Professor, THANK YOU! ""I had the feeling while reading this book that Osserman had simply taken upon himself something that couldn't be done: describing the entire universe in 170 pages with sufficient clarity so that any layman could understand it.

Being one of those laymen, I must admit that I learned quite a bit from this book. Nevertheless, Osserman's jumpy writing style with frequent digressions makes for a sometimes frustrating read. I also noted a certain effort to make the "story" of the book conform to the title (which should have been something along the lines of "Curvature of the Universe").

In any case, for those (like myself) with a passive interest in cosmology and very little prior knowledge, this book is not a bad starting point. Having finished the book, I at least know where to begin looking for more information about the topic. "