The DVD has taken a shortcuts and made edits on the original book just to fit into 4 TV episodes. If you want the DVD experience, the BBC production is still very compelling, the mix of archival & re-in-acted footage is just first rate. Don't read the book first. The book is so much more detailed - Just don't expect the DVD to replicate all the story. Also do take note of some of the historic innacuracies mentioned in other earlier reviews. If you know the right stuff then it may provoke a lot of debate. But with buffs and novices alike. I still think both are great introductions to this history.