I'm new to tarot and have the Universal Waite deck and bought this book to help me learn about using them. I found it not as helpful as I had hoped. I have since purchased "Learning the Tarot" by Joan Bunning and this is a whole lot better, for me. It gives much more indepth explainations for each card. In this book, Mastering the tarot, it's not a bad book by any means but it's a small paperback and therefore doesn't leave much room for explainations. It's a good book for beginner's but I prefer one that has more to offer.
I've read half a dozen tarot beginner's book or so in the past two years or so, and this is definitely the best I've seen.
The material is broken into 18 lessons, of which 7 cover the card meanings themselves (three for the minor arcana, one for the court cards, and three for the major arcana), and 6 cover spreading & reading the cards with examples.
The text is concise, and for each card there's a section explaining it's symbolism and meanings when straight and reversed. The explanations are solid - Eden Gray knows the material well, and draws on Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot and the Golden Dawn's Book T (an improvement over many authors who just babble whatever comes to their minds).
The book covers basic numerology and astrology, which gives a larger view and explains the explanations.
I highly recommend this book as a first study guide to anyone who learns to read with the Rider-Waite deck.