Hinduism has a special place among the world's major religions, being of great antiquity and being, until recent times, an ethnic or racial religion, like Judaism, Sikhism or Shinto. In the last century it has spread its teachings to the West and in doing so has fragmented and branched into an even more complex variety, so that, as the author of this book says, we must now talk of 'Hinduisms', in the plural. So the writing of a very short introduction that will do justice to this subject is a tall order. Kim Knott succeeds splendidly.
She does not shirk problematic topics, such as the evils of the caste system or the burning of widows. In fact, she devotes a fair amount of space to the particular difficulties faced by Hindu women.
Knott being a British academic, and a Quaker, this is an outsider's view, a learned, sympathetic and interested outsider's view. It is none the worse for that. Including a map, a timeline, a glossary, excellent illustrations and suggestions for further reading, it is packed with a surprising amount of information in such a small space.
If you have only a passing interest in Hinduism, this book may tell you all you want to know. If you wish to pursue the study, this is the perfect introduction. A good next step would be an annotated edition of the Bhagavad Gita.