With the completion of this book by R. Michael Allen, I have just established first contact with one who has been viewed as the greatest theologian of recent times - Karl Barth. And what a timely occasion to do this, just two days prior to his 127th birthday! For one who has written almost 10,000 pages, 6 million words over a period of 35 years, it is no easy task to pull out excerpts without misrepresenting Barth, or worse still, running the risk of reductionism. But Allen has done an excellent job, and is to be commended for doing so. The chapters in the book covering the different topics follow the order of Church Dogmatics (CD) itself other than with one or two exceptions. Each excerpt is well-selected, of the right length (approx. 15-20 pages of CD), and is mostly kept intact as it is appears at any particular point in CD. These features result in each excerpt presenting clearly with the original rhetorical force of Barth the theological point he seeks to make. Allen also helpfully states in the opening section of each chapter consisting of his own comments and in footnotes accompanying the excerpt other perspectives of Barth on that particular topic not found in the chosen excerpt, providing references and guiding points for those who may wish to pursue further or deeper Barth's thoughts on the particular matter. One suggested area of improvement is if the font size of the main text of CD and the parenthesis text could be differentiated in each excerpt as in CD itself. But this book certainly serves as an excellent introduction and teaser to Barth's magnum opus. Like a food tasting platter, this book whets one's appetite for the main course to come - a main course that would definitely take longer to chew, and much longer to digest for our spiritual good.