Storytelling at its best. The author steps through the periodic table and tells the stories he knows about the elements' uses, discoveries, etc. The stories are all short, and therefore, of course, a little over-simplified. I don't think some of them would pass a rigorous scholarly historical interrogation. But it's a good read full of interesting facts, both scientific and historical in nature. Really good introduction to science in general, with some significant physics and biology as well as chemistry.