I've been a doorstep astronomer for years and have a keen interest in the subject, but not in a 'passionate' way. It doesn't rule my life and I'm not an anorak, giving up everything for a glimpse of some celestial event. However, I do have a small library of books, publications and DVDs which I use as a reference from time to time and I'm always on the lookout for something that is clear, colourful and written in a manner I can understand. This is just such a book.
It's well bound and unlikely to fall apart after lots of use, A5 size and about an inch thick, and is jam-packed with photographs, diagrams and great explanations. The sky maps have been produced by Wil Tirion, who has a reputation for clarity and precision, and the main contributor appears to be Robert Burnham, who has authored several first class books before.
I particularly like technical books where you are guided how to read the different sections and shown how they are presented as part of the first section, and this book is one of those. All aspects of astronomy are covered from historical events to future possibilities and the explanations are clear and precise. The sky maps are excellent and sections on sky tours, observing stars, nebulas and galaxies are all superb.
If I had to have just one astronomy book in my library I think this one would be a strong contender when I was down to the last three! It's a great book and will suit astronomers at all levels, from youngsters just entering the hobby to Patrick Moore.