The sordid story
I, too, was contacted by Packt Press to review Expert Python Programming by Tarek Ziadé. I finished reading the book months ago, but didn't get around to writing the review.
Then I saw the review from some person I don't know and the reply from Tarek. Tarek then went on to work through all the "bugs" and put out a new revision of the book. I still didn't get around to writing a review.
Then I saw Orestis' review. This review is pretty comprehensive. I think it covers a lot of the things I was going to say, so I'll just fill in the gaps.
The short review
The book is pretty good. It's really aggressive in that it's trying to cover a lot of ground and as such some of the chapters don't get very deep. Even so, I think the book does achieve it's mission:
- it tells Python developers who are unaware of tools that would help them do development in Python what they're missing,
- it tells them what tools and other things in the Python world fill those gaps,
- it walks through how to use those things (generally speaking)
There are two things I wish had been different. The first is that every chapter should have ended with a "further reading" section that listed books, magazine articles, urls and other resources that further cover the topic. That would have really helped people the book is targeting.
The other thing I wish had been different is that many of the urls used throughout the book are "fragile": they're really long, have a lot of funky bits in them, and if the owner of that site moves anything around, the url becomes a dead link. I'm not really sure how to fix this, but maybe books should have bit.ly-like links in them that redirect through the book's web-site to the url in question. When the resource at that url goes away, then the book author can change the web-site to summarize what was there or provide a different link.
If you're interested in the book
If you think that's interesting, check out the Tarek's blog entry about the book and sample chapter.
If you still like it, then it's probably worth buying or waiting for Packt Press to send you an email to review it. ;)