Take a look at the "What I'm Reading" section in my sidebar on the right. Here's a few observations.
1. Freedom for Themselves is a good book, but certainly has drawbacks. There is an amazing amount of information to be found in the book. I am almost 2/3 of the way through it. However, it puts me to sleep in places. I haven't been able to pinpoint the cause, but I think that it could be the repetition. In his analysis the author uses lots of examples to illustrate points. The problem is, I think he uses too many examples, thus belaboring the point. Its difficult to read what seems like the same point over and over again, just with different names and slightly different scenarios. Chock full of information, but damn difficult to read (at least for me).
2. The Purpose of the Past is very much like any collection of previously published essays, meaning the quality varies from one essay to the next. Overall, I'd say this book is a useful historiographical tool and makes for some interesting reading. I've put it down for the past two weeks or so trying to get through the other book. My colleague Chris Graham would have knocked out these two books, plus about ten others in this span of time. But then again he's a grad student and I'm not on a forced timetable to read these things.
I actually can't wait to finish these two books because I have received some others recently that are (I hate to admit) much more interesting. More on them later.