The title of the book reminds me of the classic physics question: yes, this equation can be expanded for small values of the parameter. But before you whip out that expansion, first tell me what "small" means in this context?
I would venture to say that the title of the book is a misnomer on some level. This is a technical book, there's no question about that. If you are not a physicist, you will not understand a single page. When I say "technical", what I specifically mean is you should have:
* A course on general relativity. The first page dumps the Schwarzschild metric on you. You should be familiar with, say, the Faraday tensor (which any decent GR or even SR course should cover).
* A course on quantum field theory. The book very quickly goes into the massless free Klein-Gordon equation in a Schwarzschild background. You should know the basics of string theory. After all, that's what the book is partially about!
* A course on thermo/statistical mechanics. The book delves into black hole entropy. Be prepared to blow the dust off your partition functions.
In that sense, this book is not an introduction, and is CERTAINLY not for the layperson. Now that I've disparaged this book enough, I'll tell you why this is a phenomenal book that deserves a place on your bookshelf (again, for certain values of "you").
This book is a gentle introduction to the classical and quantum mechanical principles of blackholes. It was beautifully written. It may very well be one of my favorite books. When I say "beautiful", I don't mean beautiful like Wald's classic but impenetrable book on GR. Imagine David Griffiths or Matt Visser writing a book for mid-level grad students going into high energy physics. They go deeply into the different coordinates used for blackhole spacetimes and Penrose diagrams, but in a hand-holding way that emphasizes knowing-by-visualization rather than knowing-by-calculation. Yes, the calculations are all there, but the authors are not content with that. They go into the nitty-gritty type of understanding that seems to be absent in most books on this subject.
Which brings me to the next point: diagrams. This book may contain more diagrams than any other comprable book I've seen (except for the behemoth called "Gravitation", but with the case of the telephone book, half the diagrams are wasteful; do we REALLY need to see a picture of firecracker's world line or yet another picture of Newton?). The diagrams are numerous and effective. Kudos. I wish more authors paid as much attention to visualization.
The authors took a very difficult subject and wrote an extremely accessible and well written book on it. If you are a student of high energy physics, or simply want to see someone masterfully write on the subject, this book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Again, for certain values of "you".
I'm still in the process of reading this book, but one fault I can find is that I wish the index was a bit more extensive. However, that's small-fry compared to what makes this book great.