This is a concise history and suffers from all the limitations that the effort to be brief imposes. There is a long section on the nature of books before printing, the invention of the printing press and a discussion of commercial and library book distribution. This is followed by a long section devoted to the development of the novel. Libraries with rules about the student use of plot summaries will not care for the many synopses of novels that are included here. Shorter chapters follow covering poetry, drama, religious writings, philosophy and children's books. The author is an Assistant Professor English at the University of Hawaii and his exposition is flat. The approach, within the framework of the indicated organization, is chronological. There is a selective list for further reading which is brought up to date by an appended list of modern novels. The book is illustrated throughout with small reproductions of portraits in black and white, as well as photographs, of authors. Best used as a brush-up for those who've had world literature courses.