This is a decent entry into the "Starting Out" series, with the typical strengths and weaknesses. Initial moves are very well explained, with good care going into the refutations of tricky but "bad" moves. Reading through this section has been helpful, especially for handling crazies playing online blitz chess. And it seems Emms does a good job of going into the main lines and explaining what is going on strategically, about what one has come to expect from this approach to chess books.
I had some difficulty finding certain lines. Each section starts with an overview discussion of the lines, followed by a discussion of how theoretical the line is and the current database statistics. Then come sample games and a closing "points to remember." However, the opening overview often seems to function more like additional sample game than an orienting summary. Thus, if you are in the middle of a sample game, the statistics precede. If you are in the "overview," they follow. But since it is hard to tell what is overview and what is sample game, it becomes a bit of a nuisance to locate these sections.
Also, it is not always clear if a line is discussed in the initial summary or one of the sample games. For example, Emms made the noteworthy suggestion of 5...Bc5 (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 ed 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Bc5) as a reply to the Scotch Four Knights in "Play the Open Game as Black". In that book, White's two main replies, 6 Be3 and 6 Nxc6 are clearly given as lines "B1" and "B2."
In "Starting Out: The Scotch Game" the 6 Bd3 line is dealt with exclusively in the initial summary. Then there are two intervening sample games NOT involving 5..Bc5 (10 and 11) before the other main reply, 6 Nxc6 is discussed in game 12. The index wasn't helpful as it cited the summary (pg. 46) for the 6 Ncx6 line, rather than the sample game where this line is discussed in detail (pg. 55).
Side note: there's not much in terms of new info on these lines, compared to the first book, and Kaufman's suggestions and analysis tends to be ignored.
I play Kaufman's suggested line in the "Mieses" variation, and was looking forward to learning if it was holding up in Emms new book. Emms tersely cites the line (without mentioning Kaufman) on page 111 in a footnote, up to move 17, stating ONLY that this "again gives us the typical ending discussed in more detail in the next theoretical section." Thus, to find out more about this type of position, I had to search for the previous reference and the "next theoretical section" which turned out to be on pg. 126. From there I was referred to yet another location, Game 28.
The discussion there, once found, was somewhat helpful, but the position differed from Kaufman's, starting with Black's pieces being in slightly worse locations.
It seems Emms could have troubled himself to deal more explicitly with the Kaufman lines, since "Chess Advantage in Black and White" is having such a large impact.
My last quibble is that while there is much made of Kasparov's contribution to the Scotch, and there are references to his games interspersed, good luck actually trying to find them! There is only one game cited in the index, for a sideline. There is one sub-section titled "7...Be6 and Kasparov's 8 Na4," but the subsection titles are NOT included in the table of contents. There are scads of other references, such as his games with Short and Karpov in the text, but you'll have to hunt for them. Also, quite tellingly, we never hear why Kasparov STOPPED playing the Scotch. A truly objective book would have dealt with this issue.
Thus, while I am happy to own the book, I think Emms to a minor degree, and his publishers (and their poor editorial support) to a large degree are to be faulted.