Not even close to nearly complete, this oversized browsers' book nevertheless presents a huge smorgasbord of human invention, with histories of the earth and of life as hors d'oeuvres. Arranged in spreads, each with four strips of small full-color illustrations over four- or five-line running captions, there's something for almost everyone: dinosaurs, homes and other buildings, clothing (over a hundred tiny figures, sporting animal skins to denim), weapons, means of communication, medical and manufacturing techniques, and page after page of ground, air, and space vehicles. A biographical index rounds out the volume. Conventional depictions and points of view give the art a drably functional look that doesn't measure up in visual impact to works such as the Eyewitness Visual Dictionaries, and though Platt (Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections: Castle, 1994, etc.) injects a little wit (""In the beginning a journey meant two things, both of them feet""), his bits of fact and context soon begin to wear. The cheeky title and breadth of coverage give this an immediate appeal that is also likely to be ephemeral.