I'd just like to post a warning of what not to expect from this work. On my quest to get contemporary perspectives I hoped for Nicol's "The Last Centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453", Angold's "The Byzantine Empire, 1025-1204" and "The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, 600-1025" to become the modern Byzhistory trinity. Unfortunately, only Nicol's book fulfilled the expectations. Angold is next to impossible to obtain (although reportedly it's very good, which makes its scarcity all the more frustrating). And Whittow is... well, to quote another reviewer, "this book is NOT a history of the Byzantine Empire".
But I mean it in a different sense - the narrative assumes that *you are familiar with Byzantine political history*. What it offers is a broad descriptive overview (which hits many right notes and makes many important points, but do not expect a consistent narrative of events to accompany it), modern interpretation, some bold reassessments and opinions (even though I do not necessarily buy all of those, they are still very refreshing), and it casts the empire into geopolitical contexts surrounding it. The latter is performed marvelously, but to such an extent that post-Iconclast narrative treats Byzantium almost as an antagonist (that is quite superficially and as a foreign intruder into the described setting of the Steppes/Balkans/Rus/Syria/Armenia).
Once again, the material is very interesting and refreshing (for one thing - not overly sympathetic to the empire as often seems to be the case), writing is top notch, but this is not a story of the Heraclian, Isaurian and Macedonian dynasties, nor a thorough study of societies that underpinned the regimes. Do not expect it, and appreciate the work for what it is - it's well worth a read.
In the meanwhile, the Macedonian emperors still keep waiting for the glaring gap - absence of a synthesized, thorough and accessible study of their empire and their rule - to be filled.