A modest popular introduction to Buddhism by means of a biography of the Buddha. Marshall, who wrote a valuable life of Albert Schweitzer, has no special expertise in this field. He simply read through translations of various Buddhist scriptures (Arupa Jhane, Maha-Vagga, Dhammapada, etc.), along with the work of a dozen or so modern commentators, and boiled it all down to two hundred pages. A humble job, but in this case the result has a fine transparence which lets the Buddha's message shine through, and offers a potent experience to anyone looking into Buddhism for the first time. It is all so stunningly simple: life is full of pain and anxiety because of selfish desires--eliminate desire and you eliminate pain. Annihilate the self, and turn in compassion to your fellow man. For the most part Marshall lets his material speak for itself, in an unadorned style without archaisms or modernisms, and he properly shuns any hint of stained-glass ""piety."" A book of this sort ought to conclude with suggestions for further reading. Marshall fails to provide any, but he does have a good glossary of Sanskrit and Pall terms, important names, and so on. Highly recommended for the beginner.