This book is considered an introductory overview to China. Well, I have a master's degree in East Asian studies and I still found this book enlightening. The book does an excellent job at explaining China's societal and political structures and how those structures effect the state's decisions and policies. In doing so, the author does not get much into the culture and history of the nation. In this way the book is unusual and, dare I say, unique. To some, the book may seem rather mechanical, but its structural approach serves to reduce bias and prejudice. Too many books purport to explain the entire Chinese nation culturally, but the country is simply too heterogeneous for that approach to be very effective. Other books define China as a slave to its history, but history is just one of many variables. That is why I appreciate the rather mechanical approach this book takes to explaining China's politics and society. That said, however, it might serve the newcomer to Sinology well to read other texts on Chinese culture and history as a primer to this book.