How to read this book


Thick books can be intimidating. We tend to put off reading them until we have a suitably large block of time — which is to say, often they are never read. That is the reason a preview has been placed at the beginning and a summary at the end of each chapter. All of these together can be read in about one hour. Although they will not contain details nor documentation, they will cover the major points and will provide an overview of the complete story. The best way to read this book, therefore, is to begin with the previews of each section, followed by the chapter previews and summaries. Even if the reader is not in a hurry, this is still an excellent approach. A look at the map before the journey makes it easier to grapple with a topic such as this which spans so much history.

Dedicated to the next generation — especially my own brood: James, Daniel, Ralph, and Kathleen. May this effort help to build for them a better world.