Let me start this review by clearly stating I know nothing about photography. I purchased this book after seeing it reviewed on a PBS program. While the content was what I expected, the photography was not. I found the paper to be inferior, the style of most of the photos are in a "moving" view which has many of them out of focus. A few of the subjects cover 2 pages and the folds ruin the setting. The short answer is for the lay person, I would not recommend this book.
If you're like me, and have lived in the U.S. your entire life, your exposure to martial arts probably consists of watching a few Jet Li or Tarantino movies. In this book, Guariglia tells a different side of the story. The mood of the book is peaceful and meditative, emphaisizing kung fu as a way of life, not just a sport. Although the images are beautiful, this is more than a photography book--it's a fresh look at an ancient way of life that, until now, has been inaccessible to the Western world.
Even if your particular interest is not in kung fu, this is a fascinating book. The rich, colorful imagery and vibrant portraits make this book worth adding to the best photography collection.