This seems to be one of the few books in this series which hasn't received a review by someone complaining that it's not narrative history and assumes a fair amount of knowledge. That said, for someone who hasn't read the reviews, it's worth pointing out that a book like this requires more work than reading through a narrative account. If nothing else, you'll need to refer to the timeline at the end a lot to orient yourself, and you'll need to be able to infer the meaning of a lot of terms on the fly. With regards to the latter, I'm still baffled as to why the glossary at the end is so small. There are a lot of specialist terms in these essays (from Medieval culture, from the study of the early church, and from archaeology). I'm no stranger to Classical history but often found myself confronted with terms that weren't glossed. I prefer this sort of history myself, but then I had far too many years of grad school.
As for the essays themselves, some are great (e.g. the chapter on the Rural Economy), others well illustrate the belief that Italian scholars can't see the forest for the trees (e.g. the chapter immediately following the latter). Since new archaeology looms so largely in the study of this period, you'll get many pages of details on this location, then that location, then that location, etc. In the hands of some authors, all that can be framed in a way that doesn't make it simple, but makes it comprehensible at a higher level. For some chapters though, one is confronted by a long series with a single limp sentence here and there meant to somehow give one a perspective. One is also left wondering sometimes why some topic is actually significant. The final chapter is a good example of this. It has a point, but not a strong one, and not a well argued one. Moreover, the author repeats it something like 6 times without ever giving a good sense of why the ability to catalog changes in epigraphic script really matters.