There is a certain person called "the right reader" for a every book. Authors and publisher often don't know who that is; and in any case they want to sell the thing. This book, which shares its title with an earlier effort by Andrew Soltis, is devoted to defence in chess. I bought it, and read it from cover to cover - with pleasure, BUT with almost zero benefit. This obviously demands an explanation!
If you are a player around 1800 hoping to crack the 2000 barrier, or around 2000 reaching for another 200 points, forget it. I remember those days and the gut wrenching torments of years well. In the end it was that dinosaur Fine with his detailed and illuminating explanations that proved to be the greatest help! So much for all his errors and mistakes that modern analysts gloat over! Soltis was also a great help in my travails with weeding out common defensive errors.
But this book, by Polugayevsky and Damsky, has no methodical explanations at all. It evidently assumes that you already know and therefore gives you 19 chapters full of diagrams illustrating the maxims of their title (e.g. simplification, prophylaxis, counter-sac, stalemate etc). Not a word is lost on how to recognise such a critical situation, nor on how they come about, nor on how to avoid them before they arise. Moreover the game situations are overwhelmingly drawn from the top brass of the grandmaster ranks. But if you think that you can understand those better than Karpov, Kasparov etal., you would really be deluding yourself. As mentioned, the authors don't tell us how the players arrived at any such situation; so all you get is a look and some comment on the status quo. Then some ghastly mistake by Black or a brilliant manoeuvre by White etc etc.
My point is that nothing binds the positions in any chapter together methodologically. You don't get five or even just two diagrams in a row that display a recurring setup or situation. And finally the strategies involved in handling the defence also differ from one to another. But this means you can't actually learn anything from them - I mean some way of handling such situations, some concrete strategems to help you in your own combats. All you learn how even the greatest gandmasters can sometimes miss a saving clause.
In a word the only players helped by this book - as a self-help manual, so to speak - are those well above 2200 and on the way up. For the rest of us mere mortals, who need repetition and clarity for a message to sink in, Soltis will continue to have to do.