I will give the writing 4 stars. The sole reason I gave the book 3 stars was his use of end-notes. Footnotes would have been a godsend.
This is a broad history, the fine bloodlines of kings, queens, &c are not here. If that's what you want, please go elsewhere.
The writing is accessible, and often downright fun. This was my bedtime book, and I finally had to get a pen to start marking the good parts that I might want to go back to. I also finally took it to the other room and sat down to finish.
Because I write fiction, often of a historical nature, I marked a lot of things. One of my favorites is: "If a time traveller popped up in a medieval village and asked a passerby, 'What year is this?' the villager would be as bewildered by the question as by the stranger's ridiculous clothing." Nothing was said about the time traveller's or villager's odd, incomprehensible, speech.
A book of this breadth and scope is bound to contain contradictions, but then so is life. I didn't mind them, the ones that I noticed, I thought about, and came to my own conclusions.
If you're a curious person, and if you aren't afraid to have your mind stretched by ideas, perhaps even challenged by some, this may be a book for you. There are times when, admittedly, I rolled an eyeball, but perhaps because I read it before dropping off to sleep, I missed something? I enjoyed the writing, and a lot of the one-liners. I learned a lot of things I'll probably never use, but it was fun stretching the gray matter.