Like AJP Taylor's other books written in the 40/50s, this is an immensely intelligent and investigated piece of work yet difficult to read. Some of the information is shocking, and gives great perspective to subsequent events. For example, to question what the Sudeten Germans were doing before 1918, why Trieste was considered Italian (Italian was a naval language of the earlier period), or similiarly, to examine the real racial history of balkans. Most shocking of all perhaps, the observation that German was almost a "class" in central europe. So, an excellent book which really enlightens the reader. However, I found it difficult to read in sessions of more than thirty pages, mostly because of the blow-by-blow account (same as Struggle for Mastery in Europe) that predates his improved writing style of the 60s, such as Origins of the Second World War. Still, I am immensely positive about the book.