The answer to my prayers! I've been wanting a good resource to make sense of the period immediately following the passing of the Prophet Muhammmad (peace and blessings of God be upon him), and this book sure delivers! It's neither too bloated in that it becomes a chore to read nor overly simplified in that it's hard to take serious. In its level of detail I thought it just right. Going through the book you definitely get a feel for what made these men as great as they were, yet you never lose touch of the reality that these were men - men who were schooled by the best of teachers but who would each face their own unique and novel challenges. In conclusion, I thought the author has done an outstanding job mixing his own narrative with quotes from the individuals under discussion, and I would most definitely include this book in my list of must-reads for all Muslims who enjoy reading.