I bought this book after reading a review in The Economist, of all places. The review was positive but I regret the purchase. I couldn't actually get past the first 30-odd pages. I'm sure there's an interesting enough story in there somewhere but I found the style so overwrought and unnecessarily detailed that I just couldn't face reading any more. It's as if the author feels he has tried too hard to make his writing entertaining. Hardly a single fact is told without wrapping it up in some extraordinary anecdote. As if every step of the way has to be against great hardship and all progress was truly wondrous. Perhaps that's a reflection of general American entertainment, leaving nothing to the reader or viewer's imagination? If that's your style then you might like it. If not, then look elsewhere.