Far from being a very short introduction, this is actually a very short commentary. The author even opens by saying he sees no need for a very short introduction to the Roman Empire, since others have already undertaken similar efforts, and so simply chose to write out his analyses of various features and trends. In fact it's almost more of a very short series of very, very short commentaries. There may be a time and a place for that, but it's not what i intended to read so i'll go read something else. Frankly i'm more than a little irked that the VSI series bothered to print something so self-consciously contrary to its intended purpose and title - we have a term for that: False Advertising. As such, i'm giving it 1 star. I may one day re-read it and change my mind, based on what it is rather than what it claimed to be, but for now i'm disappointed and more than a little pissed off at the deception.