This is probably the best introduction available, being lucid and succinct, it also takes just the right approach to the subject for the beginner. Instead of a chapter by chapter guide to the main thinkers or theories, Wolff cleverly structures the book in such a way that the student is gently coaxed into exploring the fundamental questions of political philosophy for himself. The author notes at the beginning that it is sometimes said that 'who gets what?' and 'who says so?' are the only two questions of importance in the subject. Whilst denying this to be entirely the case, Wolff puts these questions firmly into intial context by asking why we need the state at all and then proceeds to ask if we do need the state, who indeed should govern it? He then explores the issue of the distribution of goods before returning to the 'who says who gets what?' and by the end of the book the reader should be able to explore that question through the lenses of the competing theories of today, such as feminism or communitarianism.
I was lucky enough to have the author as one of my lecturers at university and, indeed, to take my tutorials in political philosophy in my final year. As a working class student with little self-esteem and who was failing abjectly to mix within the rarefied air of an elite university, Mr Wolff admirably strived to boost my confidence and his tutorials (and lectures) were a model of patience and clarity. This book is imbubed with these qualities throughout and thus can't be recommended highly enough. Whether you are an a-level student or a 1st year undergrad, this book will have you asking the right questions and position you to look in more detail at the major theories.