I suspect that defenders of this reputedly brilliant work will claim the long build up cashes out in a stupendous climax which will leave me aghast at its audacity. We shall see, but after 341 pages, 1/4 of the narration, I’ve been treated to a nearly useless prologue and passable if self-indulgent history of science.
This reminds me of one of the paradoxes about Gould. Among historians (and the public) he was believed to represent mainstream science, a belief not shared by many scientists. Among scientists (and the public) he was believed to represent mainstream history of science, a belief not shared by practicing historians.