This book contains everything that is known about Aurelian. It isn't all that much. Aurelian's reign is only documented in brief summaries of the entire empire or an inaccurate Life. Archaeology adds some information about the times he lived in, but apart from numismatics and the occasional inscription it isn't particularly helpful in dating any of his actions or campaigns. For this reason this book has a great deal of background information and textural analysis. This should not discourage anyone interested from reading it, but it does mean that the book isn't a biography in the traditional sense. For a rather less accurate but slightly more readable account of his reign see Restorer of the World
This book begins on rather a sour note. I dislike the modern tendency to downplay the term 'crisis' in the third century. Yes many of the changes had shown up under the Antonines or sooner, and yes many of these tendencies represent the direction in which the Roman state had been going for years, but that does not lessen the significance of the changes nor does it mean that the 'crisis' had no effect on them. Certainly the crisis accelerated the policies already present at a dramatic rate. A lot of these complaints strike me as being part of the nit-picking which historians like to perform to show that they know better than their peers/predecessors. There are a significant number of scholars who argue that feudalism, for example, never existed because there was always a significant amount of cash payments and exemptions from service in kind. This is like arguing that democracy doesn't exist because there are people who don't vote. Society never fits a model exactly, but a general theory can be applied with only minor exemptions. I view this as a version of the reductio ad ridiculum argument and not the reductio ad absurdum one. Define something you wish to disprove so precisely that the reality cannot possibly match it, then disprove it. I don't know of any scholars alive today who define the 'crisis' in the narrow terms that he so dislikes. If the 'crisis' has often been overstated that doesn't mean it wasn't real. I can accept the term as lasting fifty years of civil war, barbarian invasions, and inflation. If you cannot then please provide an alternate term and defend it rather than just aimlessly tearing it down.
Aside from that, which is (at most) a minor annoyance in the introduction, this book is an excellent read. It details Aurelian's career with great skill and insight. Since pretty much nothing is known on Aurelian before he began his reign it begins with the state of the empire under Gallienus, which is a good place to start anyway since that period saw the empire at its lowest ebb. The first half of the book is a straight narrative of Aurelian's career while the second half goes into various issues. This is really the best way to write a book like this since ones that discuss only the issues are incomprehensible to the beginner and those that only offer a detailed narrative provide nothing for the student. The narrative hear is clear and mostly uncontroversial. It does spend a good deal of time justifying the order and progression of various campaigns, which just shows what little evidence the author is working on. It is helped by some rather good maps detailing the approximate course of Aurelian's campaigns. Overall I was very impressed with what he managed to squeeze out of these bare sources.
The use of numismatics in this book is really exceptional. It emphasizes how important this study is to the field. He is able to make arguments about when cities were conquered based on the output of coins from their mints. He uses this to disprove or at least clarify certain theories. Given this it is extremely disappointing that his pictures of coins are so small, so selective, and printed on such poor paper. I admit that I'm not always so impressed with his use of the sources. While I don't think I disagreed with any of his conclusions with regards to Aurelian, his justification for certain conclusions is rather thin. For example he justifies dismissing the account in the Historia Augusta which said that Aurelian was preparing for a Persian campaign at his death by stating that this seems to have been invented to compare Aurelian to the author's hero Julian and his Persian campaign. This is highly questionable for two reasons:
1. The author stopped his lives well before Julian and was pretending to be writing before Julian anyway. So any interpretation of that man as his hero is just speculation.
2. Aurelian isn't exactly the most unambiguously great of his emperors. He described him as an emperor who was necessary rather than good, and counted him among neither the good nor the bad emperors. As such any comparison with Julian would not be uniformly favorable.
Now I don't doubt that his conclusion that Aurelian was mounting a different campaign altogether is correct, but I don't buy his reasoning. He didn't even need to provide such a reason since he (rightly) dismisses much of the HA throughout the book.
But those are minor complaints. The book as a whole is extremely solid. Well-recommended for anyone with any interest in the period.