word count: about 50 000
I'm very impressed. I've never thought of using Goffman this way XD Some of you man not know this, but for years I've studied sociology (as in: went to university). Which means that references to people like Norbert Elias make me smile. A lot.
What are you in for? A proper academic paper. An accessible one, true, but don't expect sarcasm, profanity or wild punctuation. The structure, the language... it's all academic writing. Which is why people that expect lots of cute pictures and colloquialisms will be sorely disappointed. Here you get a proper introduction, abstract of the contents and then thorough analysis. There are pretty much no pictures until you're 30% in. Hey, that's how much a set-up takes. It's the way it's supposed to be.
Number of pictures? Just right. It's not a picture book, but there's a lot of analysis of examples. And I mean lots. I was actually pleasantly surprised.
Claims made by the author? Take into account the fact, that those are just pictures and as such are not a direct reflection of reality. I love sociology done right. Everything we do conveys lots of information. Much can be said based on an innocent picture, if only one knows how to look at it.
Structure? Bang on. You know how to properly write a paragraph? I'll tell you how. You should be able to read just the first and the last sentence and get a good idea of what it conveys. That's how you read when there are exams around the corner and you have no time to read all the materials. Read the introduction, the ending, and first+last sentences of paragraphs. If the text is written properly it will work out wonderfully for you. Did this text pass this test? Impressively, yes.
Why not 5 stars? Because it could be shorter, more compact. I do understand the difficulty, since there's too much material for an article, but too little for a full fledged book. I think the author wrote it just right. It's not artificially blown out of proportion, but he stretched it to the limit.
Also it's not a revolutionary book. It's not a ground-breaking paper. The conclusion was just what you'd expect. So why bother with research? Because: science. No amount of intuition and common sense can replace proper analysis of materials. Only this can confirm your intuition and make it official. Why do it? Because sometimes you notice unexpected things. Happened to me before (seriously, I'm still not over some things I've noticed during such research). It's definitely a worthwhile thing.
And I did learn some new, interesting, historical facts while reading this book.
In the beginning I found it difficult to get into it, but then it sucked me in. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was far better than expected.