The title of this small volume by Ian Jeffrey suggests its major advantage,it is a short and easy read. As I wrte this I am in the middle of the night in Califronia after a 12 hour flight, 4 hours of which were dedicated to reading this book. After a few interesting, but turgid books, this was a breath of fresh air, accessible and written in an excellent style.
Written in the early 80's the book terminates its story just prior to the rise of digitl imaging and so presents a view of the world of film rather than pixels. Each chapter considers an element of photographic history beginning with discovery and working through some of the major debates, in particular how Photography moved from a simple record to besoming high art. Coverage is very much orientated around France, Germany, the UK, and USA, I almost get the impression from the book that the history of photography evolved only in these countries, this is probably the major weakness of the treatment. I am now reading the wider scoped "Photography: A culutural History" by Mary Warner Marien, a much more complete and thought provoking look at the same subject, however, I gained much by reading Jeffrey's book first.