This is a mostly enjoyable, easy on the brain piece of pop history. It's a survey, so it doesn't pretend to delve deeply into any of the multifarious subjects which he examines, choosing rather to show how certain movements and discoveries affected each other and also helped shape our modern world. The reader becomes a bit bogged down towards the end as Boorstin skims dizzingly over the subjects of anthropology, economics, statistics and physics (taking a bit more space to indulge in a petit billet-doux to the science of history.)
The real downsides are that Boorstin is a bit unfocused in his approach, though he clearly enjoyed writing it, which adds to the reader's enjoyment (though he occasionally adopted a tone of superiority which detracts from the experience - so it's kind of a wash there, stylistically.) Also, Boorstin is unbelievably cavalier about citing his sources (we're left with a woefully inadequate appendix, but are never given direct foot notes or end notes.) Clearly, the author did his homework, however, as we were taught in geometry, getting the answer correct is only part of achieving complete marks - you should also show your work.
That aside, overall, Boorstin's style is accessible to the casual reader who wants an overall survey of many (though certainly not all) historical movers and shakers and most people enjoy it for a quick peek into the annals of history....Continua