Age of Faith was hard. We learn it as "the Dark Ages" not because nothing happened, but because it all amounted to nothing.
The rest of them are easier to get through, at least until you hit Rousseau and Revolution. The Durants fuckin' loved the French and seeing the apologia for Robspierre & Co was rough for me.
I didn't get a lot out of Hawking but I was born with a particle accelerator in my mouth so consider that situational. You might also like Tegmark's Our Mathematical Universe because it's a weird witch's brew of physics and metaphysics.