I don’t know why, but I always had the impression that the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer was a tough slog. One reason might be that I tried to read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire at too young an age and I somehow conflated the two in my mind. Regardless, I’m a couple hundred pages into R&F of the TR and I must say I think it’s great, entirely accessible and a real joy to read. If there are any historians out there who know if and how Shirer is considered out of date in some way — particularly on the subject of Fascism (I don’t much care about, say, the military analysis) — I’d love to hear from you. My own book isn’t a historiography so I don’t have much time to read about the historians I read, but I would be curious nonetheless.