gigantic gallery of personages and periods in the 17th century, this is another volume in the series, The Story of Civilization. Like the book's predecessors, the chapters are cineramas of information, replete with research. The Durants are always erudite, almost always eminently readable, although some parts do sag. (There are huge hunks of treatises, letters, journals, poems.) But, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning consoled Robert Browning vis a vis some dull sections of Sordello, these are, after all, ""only spots on the sun"".