I concur with another reviewer I once read who stated that a chess player should have a stack of Dover publications on chess (and no, I do not work for Dover, either). I have several ('Modern Chess Miniatures' by Barden and Heidenfeld, 'The Art of Chess' by Mason, 'Chess for Fun and Chess for Blood' by Lasker, and this text) in my collection.
Abrahams was a barrister in England, whose avocation was chess (he published several books on chess as well as law). This book is not really for the absolute beginner, but for those who have developed some knowledge of the basic movements, some love for the game, and are interested in bettering their strategy for more competitive play. 'Primarily this collection of examples of methods of play is designed to help the novice.'
Gerald Abrahams (1907-1980) was a very strong amateur who was playing master-level chess by the 1930s. He is credited with the invention of a variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav Defence, known as the Abrahams-Noteboom variation. He scored highly in several major tournaments, including one in Nottingham in 1936, and in an Anglo-Soviet game on the radio in 1946.
Abrahams uses a lot of endgame examples, for as he states, this is where the particular functions of pieces can be isolated and examined in more detail. However, he also uses a lot of earlier game and full-game examples, before specific advantages have been solidified in the play.
Abrahams likens the discovery of strategy and technique in chess to the discovery of prose by Moliere's M. Jourdain - when he was taught prose, he discovered that he had speaking in prose all his life. Many chess players already have some basic strategies, tactics and ideas. Abrahams describes these as being the rules beyond the rules - those conventions by which a game is played beyond the regular rules of play.
This is a fun book to read. Abrahams' style of writing is witty ('Much of chess is in the nature of petty larceny, to say nothing of catching bargains, and the picking up of unconsidered trifles'). It does take some dedication, as the examples are full and this is intended as a practical rather than a philosophical guide to chess playing. The reader who masters this text will improve his or her game, and be better prepared for the various situations that arise on the chessboard.