This book gives a very nice overview over Catholicism as a whole. To any topic, the author presents the total spectrum of views, from conservative to liberal, without judging any of them. They are simply presented and the reader can judge for himself what he thinks of it. Even with controverial topics he objectively presents both sides of the issue. This way you get a really nice picture of the discussions going on in the church.
The only way to be disappointed by this book is if you believe that McBrien should not have mentioned any other viewpoint than your very own personal "true" view.
McBrien does not seem to forget any topic. I really enjoyed reading the chapter on Catholic spirituality, where he also mentions its history. Many other books just mention the Catholic history of involvment in politics and power, in his book I see that there is much more to the whole story than that.
As a convert to the Catholic Church whose conversion was intellectual to begin with, I believed that this book might help me understand more deeply some of the complex theological and historical issues dealing with Catholicism. What I found was a well intentioned no doubt, but misguided sense of ecumenism throughout. Perhaps the part which disturbed me the most was the point at the end where McBrien stated that the Papacy's existence need not always necessarily be so. McBrien it seems is simply another Notre Dame Americanized liberalized theologian who refuses to humble himself and his opinions before the truth which is actually taught by the Church. The fact that he would even mention someone like Hans Kung should be anathema to any knowlegable Catholic, and an indication to educated protestant theologians reading this book that what is written is not an accurate representation of what we as Catholics -- practicing Catholics mind you -- believe and know to be true.