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Posted July 16, 2010
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Brief Yet Comprehensive
The deep and comprehensive knowledge Norwich has of Byzantium -- borne out in the three volume history he has written on the topic -- is only confirmed with this abridgement. If one is looking for a comprehensive yet brief history of the world's longest standing Christian empire this book is ideal.
With that said, I experienced a considerable level of frustration while reading this. In order to condense three volumes into one Norwich had to sacrifice much of his own personal analysis of the history being covered for the history itself. The upshot is an often dry and unyielding catalogue of names, dates and geographic locations buttressed by a sentence or -- at most -- a paragraph of Norwich's provocative commentary. For this reason I can hardly wait to delve into the complete three volume version. Norwich's deep understanding of Byzantium adds a considerable level of gravity to his opinions and to his ultimate assessment of the Byzantines.
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