The review, "Gibbon's fragments fashioned into a fascinating whole", written on May 18, 1998, was the basis upon which I purchased this book, and experience proved it entirely accurate and deserving of the many Helpful votes.
In my review of Betty Radice's edition of Gibbon's Memoirs, I will begin with the negatives, which as you might guess from my five star rating, are minor and failed to distract from my enjoyment and education. However, take into account I am unacquainted with other editions or publishers, and chose this one solely based on what I read on Amazon. There may be better editions available; mainly I am reacting to Gibbon rather than this particular version.
Based upon fragments pieced together, his Memoirs have several instances where the same paragraph or sentence, mildly altered, is repeated a few pages forward. This is an annoying and unnecessary defect, but our editor shrinks from presuming to edit Gibbon, though I would say, in this case, courage might not have set the Master turning in his grave, and would spare readers needless confusion.
The very necessary (due to Gibbon's frequent obscure references) Notes which are not authored by Gibbon are unwisely located at the very end of the book, rather than at the bottom of the page where they occur. This necessitates flipping back and forth.
The Publisher, Penguin, used a small font which punishes the eyes, in order to spare the cost of an extra fifty pages or so. It is a sad commentary they held this important work in such apparent contempt, but probably it was not destined to sell many copies, with its lack of the requisite sex and violence.
With its depiction of a human being strangely specialized to be a pure intellect that, by deliberate choice, spends an entire lifetime working with thoughts and ideas, this book may fail to appeal to all readers, but anyone who loves, as I do, Gibbon's masterpiece, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," must be burning with curiosity about the author, which often happens when one finds a writer one really likes. Personally, I found the Memoirs fascinating and read every page with eagerness.
The author reveals his pecadillos: vanity, a disdain for physical exercise, intellectual elitism, and a disdain for representative government. But we also appreciate his virtues: courage, diligence, duty, intellectual honesty, loyalty, and not least of all, genius. If you paid over fifty dollars for the Decline and Fall, as I did, and really plan to read it over the course of a year or so, then why not lay out a few extra dollars for the Memoirs?