I just began reading BASIC CHESS by DAVID LEVENS and have gotten far enough to feel it is definitely more than a two-star book. It is a very informative book, more thorough than many of the others that I have seen so far, but the main flaw I find is the poor editing.
The structure of this book is the most common for books of this type: after introducing the basics - how the chessmen move, notation, etc., it introduces sections on chess tactics, openings, the middlegame, endgames, a section to test yourself on various skills already covered and a final section on additional resources.
What I like most about it so far is the interesting and informative detail that comes along for the ride with everything said. For instance, the chessmen are not just introduced but we are immediately told what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Interestingly, though I do agree with the previous reviewer that there is a problem with the diagrams, the only problem that I see with the diagrams is that the chessmen are too small and this is compounded by the fact that someone decided to go for a 3-D effect and have them cast a shadow. I have books with smaller chessboards but clearer chessmen and so do not think it is the chessboard that is the problem but the decision to fill those small squares with a replication of a whole piece rather an enlarged partial replica as is most commonly done.
The real problem for me so far is that it was not properly edited. These editing problems usually affect the meanings of what is being said, include just about every type of error possible, can occur several times on a single page, probably will continue throughout the book and requires REALLY CAREFUL reading. I understand that editing carelessness is a common problem with many chess books but the extent of the errors here is extremely challenging. It seems an excellent book otherwise. Unfortunately, most may find struggling with this many errors simply not worth the effort. I must admit, though I like what this book has to say, I may never get to the end of it myself for this reason!!
Other books for beginners include THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO CHESS by Patrick Wolff, PORTABLE CHESS COACH by Judee Shipman, COMPREHENSIVE CHESS COURSE VOLUMES I & II by Roman Pelts and Lev Alburt, ALPHA TEACH YOURSELF CHESS IN 24 HOURS by Zsuzsa Polgar, GUIDE TO GOOD CHESS by CJS Purdy, THE RIGHT WAY TO PLAY CHESS by D. Brine Pritchard, PLAY WINNING CHESS by Yasser Seirawan, LASKER'S MANUAL OF CHESS by Emanuel Lasker and PANDOLFINI'S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CHESS by Bruce Pandolfini.