This is the most comprehensive coverage of the development of the opera that has been done for the layman. The authors of Men of Music (published 1939) have done a good job, not as colloquial as the earlier book, and more interpretative. A compendium of useful facts, covering the history of opera from the early forms in the beginning of the 1th century to the present, composers, singers, librettists, changing styles and changing tastes, moods of criticism. Chronological arrangement under individual countries, and within these regions, the types of schools. One gets a sense of time and place, through the description of periods and backgrounds and lines of development. In their handling of American opera today, one gets a suggestion of reserved judgment towards the new Metropolitan director. Edward Johnson, and his reputed unfriendliness towards American music. A standard book for libraries.