I'll be brief about this rather remarkable and sweet book. What really grabs you are the chapter headings. They seem to promise illumination of those few things that you had understood about modern life but had never had time or insight enough to really expand on. Things like 'How men and women have slowly learned to have interesting conversations' and 'Why compassion has flowered even in stony ground'. Unfortunately these certainly wise ideas are the finishing lines the writer jogs through rather than the start line. That is to say that although what Zeldin offers you as a follow-up is interesting and well written, you struggle to find the real link with the chapter heading. This guy knows a lot both about history and people (which is the same thing actually) but he's just so vague and optimistic that if you're not those things too, you're going to wish you had just stuck to the chapter headings. Maybe that's too mean, have a great read !