Mr. OSTENTATIOUS LEARNING: This book is an insult to any intelligent reader of history &/or biography.
GCM: That is because you would have to understand what an "intellectual biography" is. Hollingsworth first sentence states "In writing this book I have had the sensation of having written the story of one of the world's great novelists." This, for me, cracked open a quandary of considering what kind of "thinker" Augustine is. Augustine was primarily & fundamentally trained as a "rhetorician" in the classical sense which was thoroughly trained in philosophy, logic, and political action/theory on the model of Protagorus, Gorgias, Socrates, Plato, and most of all Aristotle who said sound education had to begin with experience in the agora speaking to others, the proper formation of the `enthymeme', the learning of the different forms of political systems based on the premise of "man is a political animal" which Aristotle means quite literally, and THEN the learning of the finer points of "ethics" which Aristotle shows begins as a process of "habituation" by parents. Aristotle shows then that ethics is born by activity with others mainly through language as properly formed. Hollingworth picks up on this exactly with his first book on Augustine's innovations in political theory.
The main point is, I have discovered in my own reading of Augustine, is that Augustine ALWAYS writes "correctly", not "randomly" or "impulsively" or "authoritatively" or most certainly not "authoritatively" like Aquinas `seems' too (but Aquinas' very precision of terminology limits his words precisely to only exactly what they say and not how you `feel' they say) or "systematically" like `Spinoza' (or rather like Christian Wolf and Baumgarten) or Hegel (if even that is justified). The very need to have constant "qualifiers" shows in real philosophy or theology "if/and/but" constant follows upon every statement thus making that statement equivocal. They are vastly limited in actual precision. Augustine does not ever try for systematic precision like Aquinas or Aristotle (with it being highly questionable they deliberately tried to do this themselves) or Plato who immediately in his dialogues with every delimitation of a concept immediately tags to it his own "qualifiers". Augustine writes as a "rhetorician" which is mainly in our time a "novelist" like Dostoyevsky, the present pope's favorite, or Thomas Pynchon. They present, like Plato, all sides - though seeming to incongruously emphasize `one' side - and at the end of the "conversation" leave everything in the air.
Mr. OSTENTATIOUS LEARNING: Its subject as well as his philosophy and its impact on Western thought and Christianity are fascinating and worthy of many biographical and analytical works. But this book is not worthy of being included in that list. The author is apparently recognized by some as an authority on the saint. However, I found that while I could define all his vocabulary without resort to a dictionary, making sense of his sentences was beyond my ability. I got the impression that the author used this book to show off his verbiage but didn't know how to connect his words into intelligible sentences. The other possibility is that he didn't care about turning out meaningful thought. In the latter case, he should be deprived of his teaching position. In the former case, he requires immediate and intensive remedial instruction in English composition. The subtitle of this book is "An Intellectual Biography". It should be renamed "A Pedantic Biography".
GCM: You should rely less on an "impression" as you say, and more on logical analysis if you would have seriously taken Augustine for a philosopher - which you do not and Hollingworth does.