As other reviewers have pointed out, this is the only guide that contains a number of Central Asian languages. This monopoly is quite unfortunate, since this book cannot really be recommended. There are good courses in many Central Asian languages, - "Modern Literary Uzbek" and "Beginner's Guide to Tajiki" - so if you're going to visit just one country you'll be far better of with one of them. The author of this book is a specialist on the Uyghur language and it shows. As far as I can tell, the Uyghyr chapter is very good. Unfortunately, some other chapters are really bad. My main points are:
1. The languages presented
The authors have decided to focus mainly on six languages: Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Pashto, Tajik, Uyghur and Uzbek. These languages get about 30 pages each, while the remaining eight languages get an average of 5 pages each. For some reason, the Dari language isn't even mentioned in this book. In terms of speakers, it is the second largest language of Afghanistan after Pashto - however, it is the general lingua franca of the country and the language of most major cities, including the capital Kabul. While it is true that Dari and Tajik are extremely close, there are still a number of differences. Travellers to Afghanistan should definitely look for another phrase book than this one.
2. The maps
The six main languages are all introduced together with a map showing where they are spoken. I'm sorry to say that the maps are spectacularly wrong. The fact that many languages are shown as the spoken language in a certain area or city is no problem, many areas of Central Asia are bilingual or even trilingual.
a. Uyghur. As far as I can say, this map is correct, just as the chapter on Uyghur.
b. Uzbek. The Uzbek map is not as silly as some other maps, but it's still wrong. That the mainly Tajik cities of Samarkand and Bukhara are included in the Uzbek language area is absolutely correct, both have significant Uzbek minorities. Some areas of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are definitely Uzbek speaking, but this map would have us believe that the Uzbek areas cover more than 50% of the two republics respectively. That is not the case.
c. Kyrgyz. This map is just incredible. Cities such as the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, the former Kazakh capital Almaty, the two Tajik speaking cities Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan and the Uzbek Ferghana valley are all shown as Kyrgyz speaking... Of course there might be some Kyrgyz speakers living in each of these cities, but so are there in London and New York. None of these cities have even a mentionable Kyrgyz minority, not to speak of a majority.
d. Kazakh. This map is even worse. It correctly covers all of Kazakhstan but it also covers ALL of Uzbekistan and about 80% of Tajikistan. The Kazakh population in these countries are 3% and 2% respectively.
e. Pashto. Also a map made at random, and the one most likely to cause offence. All of Afghanistan is shown to be Pashto speaking. In reality, it's about 50% of the area of Afghanistan and 40% of the people. The major cities of Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat are all populated by Dari speaking Tajiks, yet at this map they are all shown to be Pashtuns. Even the Panjshir valley, the heartland of the Tajiks, is shown to be Pashto speaking. Apart from that, the Baluchi speaking areas are also shown to be Pashto speaking.
f. Tajik. Another confusing map. Tajikistan is of course shown to be Tajik speaking, as are the Uzbek area around Samarkand and Bukhara. More incredibly, even the Uzbek capital of Tashkent (in which Russian dominates and Uzbek comes in second) is shown to be Tajik speaking. What really makes one laugh is that even the south of Kazakhstan and the Kyrzyz(!) capital are shown to be Tajik speaking. In stark contrast to the "gains" by the Tajik language, the vast areas of Afghanistan, including Kabul, that are Tajik speaking are blank on this map.
3. The language descriptions
I'll start with a confession: I don't speak many of these languages and I cannot say how correct the descriptions are. I do speak Russian and have to say that I have never seen a more faulty description. The pronunciation this book uses is so far from the actual pronunciation that you won't stand the remotest chance of being understood. I get by in Tajik and the pronunciation table given here is beyond belief. Out of a total of six vowels, five(!) are given a pronunciation that is just wrong. According to this book, the Tajik "o" is pronounced as in English "go". It's not, it's pronounced as the "a" in "all" or the "aw" in "law". The word Tajik "ston" rhymes with English "lawn", not with "stone". In the Mandarin section, all the four tones of the language are ignored!! As even a beginner could have told the authors, the tones are absolutely crucial for speaking Chinese.
I agree with the reviewer who called for grammar descriptions of the main languages in this book. If such descriptions were introduced, if the maps were corrected, if the pronunciation guidelines were written from scrach, if Dari was included and if the sections on Russian and Mandarin were more substantial, this would be a rather good book.