Only 40 years ago, Will Durant (whose wife, Ariel, was co-author of the later books) was among the most celebrated popular historians for the multi-volume Story of Civilization. Today, he is all but obscure. (I "Googled" his name and found only a single web site where he is mentioned -- and that's the site of the foundation administered by his estate).
Wherefore has his reputation dimmed so suddenly? I imagine that even when he was alive and publishing, academic historians dismissed him with their favorite put-down, that he was a mere "synthesizer." As if that wasn't bad enough, he was widely read by non-historians!
In today's academic Dark Ages, he is no doubt beneath contempt, since he doesn't see history as defined by economic, class and gender issues (although in fact he has plenty to say about all those -- he just doesn't focus on them as though they are the beginning and end of what makes the past important). Moreover, Durant assumes the currently unthinkable on our politically correct campuses: that western civilization and Dead White Males actually have given us a great deal that has timeless value.
But, if you have shaken off (or not been subjected to) the ideology of the PC drones of academia, Durant is just the writer to make history what it was meant to be: colorful, literate, mind-stretching. This is no sugar-coated account; he discusses the ugly, cruel and unjust aspects of the Roman Republic and Empire, but balances that by examining what was good and enduring.
Of the Story of Civilization books, I have read completely only this volume on the Roman world (I'm currently reading the previous volume on Greece), but have no hesitation in saying that Caesar and Christ is the best piece of historical writing I have ever encountered, and I suspect that the whole series has many of its virtues. Although he may be a "synthesist," Durant has obviously read deeply in the ancient writers, and has seen and pondered the art and artifacts of the Roman era.
The result is prose that sings, and encompasses both the "big picture" and fascinating, out-of-the-way detail. Durant gives you a survey of the personalities, the politics, the social world, the ideas, the literature and the arts of this period that shaped the western world. Far from being a piece of bone-dry "historiography," Caesar and Christ is a grand essay in the great tradition of Gibbon. The elegance and wisdom of the writing are something to marvel at.
If you are interested in the Roman era, you will find Caesar and Christ to be enormously rewarding.