Durant isn't a trudge, though. At least as far as I read it. It's long, daunting, a bit too polite when it comes to euphemisms, but I can't say it's hard to read.
Though I am more than aware how funny those words will seem once I get to the French Revolution. Authors are honest-to-god fans of France. It's volume 1 and remarks about French archaeologist/museum/historian/linguist/discovery would almost make you think that other countries had been just sitting on their arses while le France! was doing everything.