My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I became very interested in Charles XII, Sweden, and the Great Northern War while reading Robert Massie’s biography of Peter the Great. A search for books on the subject yielded Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire 1682-1719 by Robert Nisbet Bain. It isn’t a biography of Charles XII, it is more a book about his wars and how they and his actions brought about the collapse of the Swedish Empire. I found it very informative and learned a lot about both the Swedish Empire and Charles himself. Nonetheless, I found it very difficult to rate the book. It was originally published in 1895, so you have to consider that research and scholarship might have changed things since the book’s publication and you have to adjust to a different style of writing and vocabulary. That wasn’t the problem. The problem with this book is that the E-book version isn’t just poorly edited, it apparently was edited at all. It seems that the conversion was done and immediately published; it is full of spelling errors that make you have to go back and re-read passages to understand them. There are numerical figures that are incomprehensible. If I were rating the book purely on content, I’d easily give it a 4, but because the errors made it so difficult to read, I have to give it a four. That said, it’s well worth reading, but I’d suggest trying to find a print version because the conversion errors are more than simply irritating.