Philosophy surveys tend either to ignore important nuances and therefore become just plain wrong, or pay attention to those details and therefore become impossible to read. This book, however, manages to provide a robust introduction to each major philosopher of the modern period, along with some pieces of what came before it, in a very short, readable way.
Scruton walks you through each philosopher’s most important arguments, how those arguments come together into conclusive philosophies, and where those philosophies fit into the broader scheme of the whole history of philosophy. His clarity and brevity make this book accessible to any interested beginner, and his attention to important details in the flow of philosophy gives this book an audience within the ranks of the previously initiated. To put it succinctly: He both rigorously understands his subject and communicates very smoothly, which makes this book the absolutely perfect introduction.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a whole lot about philosophy, and to any undergraduate who wants to ace his philosophy classes.