This books ranks amongst the most enjoyable I've read from an academic perspective. It is easy to read because complex ideas are explained in a simple but not simplistic way. The aim of the book is to clarify positions and expose their premises rather than convince you that any particular one is right or wrong so there is no need for the author to devise complex logical possibilities to illustrate his hypothesis or to use clever-clever word games to define himself out of difficulties. It can be used either as an excellent introduction to the field as a whole or as an interesting run-down of the main points in a particular area. All politics and philosophy students from A-level up should have a copy as an introduction and for future reference in relation to particular essay questions. While it may help (as it says it wants to) "intelligent lay readers" the reality is that policy-wonks and people in the world of work might find its excessively clinical approach frustrating. The book doesn't tell you to do anything, it simply tells you the kind of standards you can apply when deciding what to do. If you know where you stand but can't work out why you stand there you'll be hard pushed to find a book that will explain political positions as clearly, intelligently and accessibly as this one. Just don't buy it expecting it to teach you answers if you are a political agnostic or provide a guide to action if you are a political professional.