For context, I am a white man who took Mandarin Chinese in college - about 10 years ago - but have been trying to get back to it for some time. This book was recommended to me, and I have been very happy with the purchase.
As the title suggests, the user of this book is expected to have some background and familiarity with basic vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax, and writing style of Mandarin Chinese. While most books with the word "beginner" in the title will focus on the very fundamentals of these elements, the few of us who have had some exposure and background with the material would find those resources unhelpful, and frustratingly slow. This book dives right in, omitting instruction on more obvious words (pronouns: wo, ni, ta, for example) and gets going on simple paragraphs and dialogues for learning.
This is the perfect book for someone with a background that covers the fundamentals of Chinese, but not sufficiently advanced to warrant an intermediate-level book. Vocabulary is useful, appropriate for typical conversations, and the stress on writing is important for getting stroke order correct. There is no audio component, so practicing speaking and hearing the language will require another resource. Although the material covering grammar isn't very deep, it is useful.
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