This book is one of the rare war chronicles that reads like a novel. I particularly like how the author develops the character of the leaders on both sides. Also, the history leading up to the conflict is written well. The only negative I can think of was the lack of maps inherent with any audiobook. In this case you REALLY need them unless you are a geography expert on the region. I downloaded some maps of Israel and surronding countries before and during the war. I highly recommend you do the same.
When I reached the end of this volume, I thought, "Is that it? I don't feel like I saw the empire actually arrive." It almost crept up on me. Sure, there were battles and conquests, but there didn't seem to be any grand advances of empire. Perhaps this was the point: the growth was organic, steady, and inexorable. Also, the fact that the book's end arrived before I could believe must mean that it was engaging. The short biographies of the individual empire builders were fantastic. (The footnotes were my favorite part.)
I also liked the emphasis on three themes throughout: 1) the effect of the abolished slave trade and slaveholdings, 2) the evangelical and humanitarian motives of empire, and 3) the reluctance through most of Victoria's reign by most Englishmen to even pursue empire.
You will enjoy this book if you want to learn about the growth of the British Empire under Victoria.
This well-told story brings an obscure war and time in Afghanistan to life. Charlie Wilson was such a unique character. The sense of doom for the USSR fighting the Afghan rebels and the seeds of future trouble for the US in the region was palpable.