This book is mis-titled; it does not delve into a chronology of the occurrence of the Big Bang event itself, as it is currently understood by scientists, but rather a historical overview of the scientific effort that resulted in the theory.
As a lay-person's introduction to the history of astronomy and cosmology, the book is fine, although a bit basic for my taste. For example, I've never studied physics or astronomy, but generally already knew much of the information on the Greeks, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Einstein, etc. Those tired descriptions of special and general relativity, and the expanding universe as a balloon are wheeled out once again.
I was disappointed in the book because I enjoyed Fermat's Enigma and The Code Book so much. I had high expectations for this book to be more technical. For example, I felt that glowing testimonials on the process and value of the scientific method detracted from the focus and rigor of the book. As an example, we have an off-topic tangent on "paradigm shift" within the process of scientific progress. Perhaps Singh has dumbed-down the material too much. Quite patronizing were the chapter-ending "notebook" sketches which summarized points from each respective chapter. These only served to confirm that the book seemed targeted at a high-school level audience. For readers with little science background, the book should be accessible.
The formal chapters of this 2004 book abruptly end with the announcement of the COBE result in 1992; advances of the next 12 years are relegated to an Epilogue. Formalizing my disappointment was Figure 103, a reproduction of a 1992 newspaper article which provided me with perhaps more details of the sort I was hoping the book itself would contain. For example, the book has little or no mention of matter versus anti-matter, quarks, W+ W- Z particles, which are all shown in the clipping.
A glaring flaw is the absence of the mention of inflation, Big Crunch, type Ia supernovae, dark energy, and dark matter until the last few pages of this epilogue. Quite a trick for a 500 page book on its purported subject. Many of these topics have been known or debated for decades. For example, the recent WMAP refinement in the age of the universe is only mentioned in the caption to an image! This caption (Figure 104) raises several points which leave the reader wanting more details. Why was so much text spent on COBE when its results were superseded by WMAP, which gets only passing mention? One could be left with the idea that not much is going on in this field since 1992.
The book spends a lot of time building what I considered a straw-man argument about the steady-state universe versus the Big Bang. No serious scientist today doubts the latter, and I found Singh's approach tedious and inexplicably dated; a sort of preaching to the choir. As I waded through the very interesting but here belabored scientific advances of the 20th century, my overwhelming sense was, "get on with it."
As further evidence of the target audience level for this book, note that after the Epilogue, there is a short section, "What is Science" which declares, "This book is a history of the Big Bang Model, but at the same time it attempts to provide an insight into what science is and how it works." I wished I had read the first part of this statement before starting the book so I wouldn't have been expecting a play-by-play account of the Big Bang event, which is not satisfactorily provided here.
I quote from the Epilogue regarding current research in cosmology: "The rest of this epilogue [about 16 pages] is a brief dip into some of those still to be resolved issues and details. A few paragraphs cannot hope to convey the subtlety, depth and true significance of any of these problems." True, perhaps, but I thought that's what the whole book was for.