I suppose to a certain extent there has to be a certain degree of subjectivity with a topic like this. I had problems with it because the author did not really qualify his decisions as to why certain authors were included in the text. There were some really interesting nuggets of interest but these really were few and far between. What attracted me to this book is it is written by an English Professor and it covered works literature rather than just English Literature. but at 265 pages long it was it just touched on ideas and concepts while spending too much time on biographies of authors. The author seemed to favour biography over the literature itself and the historical times in which each was written.
For someone totally new to literature this will be a real eye opener. It can give you a good idea of names for your "must-read lists" and does give a standard overview of the world of literature. I just left it feeling more had been left out than put in.