This is probably the most delightful, useful, and comprehensive elementary book available for learning spoken and written German, with or without a teacher. Working on the principles that a person learns more quickly by example than by rule, the author has put together a book that abounds in immediately usable German sentences and phrases on a wide variety of subjects.
The student will find pleasure in the amusing sketches and drawings used to imbed new vocabulary firmly in the student's mind, in the many excellent photographs of cities and landmarks in German-speaking countries, and in the glimpses of German culture and custom subtly interwoven into the conventional material.
The book, though eminently useful for self-study, is especially amenable to classroom use or study with a private tutor. The variety of teaching aids that this book places at the teacher's disposal is remarkable. The lessons contain dialogues, grammar and idiom studies (replete with examples), and extensive practice exercises. In addition there are 28 full-page and double-page sketches of specific scenes (a harbor, a zoo, a theatre, etc.) with pertinent items numbered and identified in German and English; sketches and photographs, which the student is asked to describe in German; German proverbs, jokes, and more.
The dialogues and reading material encompass an exceptionally wide range of real-life situations, and are extended to include most of the basic vocabulary one would need in each situation. The analysis of German pronunciation is very comprehensive (and the simple phonetic system used in the early stages is readable by sight). The practice exercises are carefully designed to allow the student to use what he learned. The closing sections contain a summary of grammar, a guide to letter writing (with sample German letters), and a valuable study guide to German literature by Dr. Richard Friedenthal.
The book differs from others of its type in that it gives more attention to the elementary stages of learning, and the rate of progress is less rapid than usual. This means that any intelligent person, even if he is an absolute beginner, can with sufficient application arrive at the end of the course confident of having acquired a solid foundation for further study.
Revised version of the Odhams Press Limited, 1962 edition.