Quite unexpectedly, I found reading this collection of essays- political, social and first and last biographical- sheer delight. Not only for the challenge of contact with a civilized intelligence, but for the relief of encountering the English language as it should be handled. There's immense knowledge behind the essays, knowledge that compasses a broad range in time, in diverse worlds, in dissection of mores and external disruptive forces. The essay on Erasmus, one of the longest -- and read immediately after- the essay on The Twilight of the Monks brought a whole era to new and immediate awareness; the range of background included such varied scenes as the Holy Land, the Orient, Europe from Sweden to Spain, and of course recurrently the England of the dark ages, the Elizabethan period the great rebellion, revolution, etc. The interplay of men and events is always operating. And a final essay, rapier tipped, is Arnold Toynbee's Millenium. This is a book that it will be fun to recommend, to win thereby the appreciation of those appreciative few that we all can find.