The first edition of this huge book, by Richard Croker, appeared on 1966. It traces the evolution of music style since gregorian chant (before 1000)! till post WWII (Berg, Schoenberg).

To get the most of it, listen to the tracks he uses as examples instead of trying to figure out what the printed music (a lot of short partitions) sounds like. You can see he loves Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, admires Wagner but kind of despises Mahler or even J. S. Bach (he prefers his children Carl Emmanuel , Wilhelm or Johann Christian). XX century is definitely not his speciality. For that, refer to this, less academic, masterpiece (The rest is noise by Alex Ross).

I am happy to be back in touch with classical music, thanks to this book I bought some Haydn (in the book you find wonderful explanations about the evolution of the symphonic form), Berlioz and Liszt. But I would not recommend this book to someone who has not a minimum of knowledge on music theory. So, I keep searching in the hope of finding THE book on late classical-early romantic music.