Durant is unmatched in the beauty and clarity of his prose, and in the piercing gaze through the mists of history. Yes, there are elements which are dated thanks to more recent research, and yes, his sections which close the book on China and Japan are probably best forgotten due to the poor availability of translations and understanding of cultures, especially from ancient China. But were I to engage in the silly game of "desert island" books, this single volume would contend for that honor.
No single book or author can encompass all knowledge or research. No one man can encapsulate all history without fault or sin. But page after page, Durant will stun the reader with profound and poetic passages. Forgive him his other trespasses. Frankly the section on India (a subject he was especially familiar with) is worth the price of admission alone.
I recommend this book as highly, and as strongly as anything ever shall be. Quite honestly, if you don't like it I won't want to hear about it. I don't mean that to be offensive, believe me! But this book approaches as near and as dear to my heart as any does.