Rudolf Rocker's work exemplifies the realization of anarchism: Rocker is a self-made intellectual, who learned lessons in his tireless activism. In this sense, Anarchism & Anarcho-Syndicalism is an artifact of DIY (Do-it-Yourself). Rocker assembled this work on his own, sought no profits, and wrote the book only to give others an informed perspective.
Thus, there's a homespun sort of character to the book: it feels a bit like a college paper in some ways, though well-edited. And, like a college thesis, the stilted organization of chapters forces the book into some rather formulaic and clunkly logics. Still, the book does manage to convey a good deal about anarchism and particularly the sydicalist position.
Rocker locates labor unions at the center of anarcho-syndicalism. He sees these groups as aptly sized to make all key decisions: at this scale economic and political organization can complement one another. At this scale, laborers can build a world for themselves: a world based on their own decisions, efforts, and creativity. And labor unions, for Rocker, have the capacity to educate others in the making of a harmonious society. Rocker also shows how labor unions could function in an integrated network, so as to form larger--but non-coercive--political bodies.
Published in 1938, the book is a record of its time. Rocker is breathless about the anarchists of Spain, and speaks out repeatedly against the rise of Nazism in Germany. Indeed, the rise of fascism in Europe is, for Rocker, an important lesson: it shows how labor and socialism are diluted by the parliamentary state. He also speaks out against the evils of the tyranical USSR. In contrast, Rocker sees anarcho-syndicalism and labor unions as means to create a "socialist" society, in which the profits of labor are shared by all, and in which one's life belongs fundamentally to oneself.
Other editions have a nice little 4 page introduction by Chomsky and a wordier one by Chris Walter. Neither are really needed.
The book, though occasionally dated and boring, remains an important voice for anarchist philosophy. The creativity and autonomy that Rocker brought to his authorship are themselves models for a better way of life.