This sets a new bar for popular history (which seems an odd thing to say given it was published in 1989). It is superbly readable, being written in stripped-down, elegant prose which nevertheless never patronises the reader. And there is a wonderfully dry sense of humour present in it as well, entirely at odds with the very po-faced tone taken by other writers in the genre. Best of all, there's no academic point-scoring or showing off. This is a narrative account, told like a story - exactly as history should be done.