I came across Brown's "Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study" when I was in college during the mid 1980's. I read the first two volumes (which I remember as being pretty massive), but that's all the library had, and they only covered about half of his life. I've since learned the next two volumes were published later. When I saw this more condensed book, I decided to go ahead and download it. As others have mentioned, the book is fairly easy to read if you're truly interested in the subject matter, but the author doesn't go into much historical depth regarding the world during Tchaikovsky's lifetime. What you get is the facts about him, excerpts from diaries and letters, and the author's own opinions. At times the book seems like a Tchaikovsky Music Appreciation course, with Brown giving star ratings and recommendations for individual works, as well as pretty detailed analysis, which I have to admit I mostly skipped over. Unless you're actually listening to the music while reading, the words come across like extended CD liner notes. However, most of the book is interesting and even intriguing. I'm no musicologist, but still a huge fan of Tchaikovsky, and I learned a few things, such as the fact that he wrote almost twice as many operas as he did symphonies. Even though the book ends as suddenly as its subject's life, Brown's theories surrounding his cause of death will leave you asking some questions of your own.