This is a book that could have been a lot better. The main goal of the book, and one at which it generally succeeds, is to give you an overall view of what J2EE is and how it fits into an overall IT strategy. The advantages and disadvantages of each piece of J2EE are discussed. There is very little code in the book (and what is in there could have easily been left out without any loss of clarity) so if you are looking for a book to show you how to write programs then this is not the book for you.
The book has some serious drawbacks. First, the authors of this book are trying desperately to reach some level of geek coolness with mentions of The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Pulp Fiction, and with the use of deliberate (at least I think it is deliberate) poor grammar and spelling. But after awhile it just gets annoying. The book is probably twice as long as it needed to be because of the authors' desire to try to make the book fun. But unlike the Head First books, the "fun" here just gets tedious and turns short discussions into long and confusing discussions. (Why is a J2EE server like a dolphin? Does it like fish?) The book is also repetitive. For example, the discussion of session beans on page 48 is repeated almost verbatim (including the same picture) on page 139. The book does not cover JavaServer Faces and makes only a minimal mention of Struts. None of the other open source frameworks are discussed at all.
Overall, the information in the book is accurate and there is really no other book on the market that covers the material at this level (which is why it is getting 4 stars and not 3). The authors apparently know their stuff but the book could have been a lot better.
This earned 4 stars on Amazon. The book is published by Prentice Hall.
The review can be seen on Amazon on My Amazon Reviews page.