A bit too scholarly and lacking any down-to-earth feel. I felt like I was reading documentation on the anatomy of a microwave oven. If you can keep from nodding off, it is a thorough summary of Buddhism.
Peter Harvey's book is dull but extremely useful for those wanting help in learning about the history, practices, and divisions of Buddhism. If a comprehensive, encyclopedia-like reader is wanting you are needing, then this book is your answer, although I would advise taking "no dose" while reading it. Harvy sets forth a historical explanation for all elements of Buddhism and presents the sanskrit form of names and terms. I personally found Harvey's review of Tantra and Zen Buddhism to be particularly helpful. Too often, books and documentaries emphasize the sexual aspects of Tantra and the meditation of Zen without clearly stating what each denomination believes and, more importantly, why they believe such things. Also, before this book, I had trouble finding where to begin in learning about Buddhism, and this book leads its reader by the hand and into the most important issues of Buddhism, escaping the confusion caused by a western interest in Buddhism since the 1960's.