Scullard continues where he left off at the end of "A History of the Roman World: 753-146 BC." I gave that book four stars, and if I could I would give this one 4 and 1/2, but I had to choose between four and five. The author maintains his academic style which can be both informative and tedious.
I found the first section, which talked a lot about latifundia, pretty dry and kind of confusing. I blame my lack of background knowledge rather than any authorial deficiencies. However, the extended discussion of the need for land reform and the marginalization of the peasant farmer (and how this affected the Roman military) does help one to understand the tumultuous years of nearly incessant civil wars which were to follow. After this initial background, I found the bulk of the narrative very engaging and it held my interest with ease.
I only have two issues with this book, one related to content and one related to the digital format. First, I felt like once Scullard powered his way through the Principate of Augustus, he started to run out of steam and seemed to treat the remaining years (from Tiberius to Nero) as something of an afterthought. Second, you can tap the link in the text proper to take you to the endnote, but the corresponding number in the endnote is just plain text and does not function as a link. This is a minor complaint as you can just tap the back button on your device.
After reading Scullard's two surveys, the highest compliment I can give is that I immediately wished he had written a third covering the remaining years of the Empire. I even came up with a title: "From Nero to Zero"! Instead I will have to chop my way through the dense thicket of Gibbon's account of the decline of the Western Empire. That is unless anyone has any recommendations for the twilight period of the Western Empire. I've read Norwich's three volumes on the Eastern Empire, so I really want to find a book (a little less challenging than Gibbon) that covers this gap between 68 AD and 476 AD (or even just 330 AD).