I am an intermediate/advanced guitarist (23 years but no formal lessons). I got serious about becoming a better Travis picker last year, and I worked my way through Mark Hanson's Art of Contemporary Travis Picking, which was excellent. Hanson is more classically oriented, though, and I wanted to play Hurt's three-fingered alternating bass style, laying my pinky on the guitar top to strengthen my thumb attack. I am very glad I worked through Hanson's book first because this book is NOT FOR BEGINNERS, but I am thoroughly enjoying Grossman's instruction and it is true in every way to Hurt's own picking style. This is the real thing.
Mr. Grossman groups the songs by key (starting with G), and the songs progress in difficulty in terms of adding more chords and more fretting hand movement as you go along. This is a splendid approach and builds your skills and confidence very efficiently. You should learn each song in order and resist the urge to skip ahead to your favorites. Everything builds logically and it is worth it.
Unlike many instructors on cd, DVD, or online, Mr. Grossman is quite relaxed and has a friendly, encouraging manner. The blues are a folk form, and Grossman's avuncular demeanor seems to have been picked up from the vibe of his mentors Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt (yes, he actually played with them!). The first song, as a bonus, is a tune Grossman recorded on tape while hanging out with John Hurt at a New York City cafe in the '60s. Clearly, this is the most authentic Hurt instruction you could hope to find.
One problem: the third bar of the first guitar tab is completely wrong, wrong in both the tab and the standard music notation. I skipped ahead to the second song out of frustration with myself before I realized the music was just written down incorrectly and did not match the cd. I wrote in the right notes, learned it, and moved on. This is disappointing from a quality control standpoint, but don't let it discourage you from buying the book. Just be ready for it when you start learning that first song ("Shake That Thing").