The first line in the introduction tells us much about this thick volume (page viii): "The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US government officials, and the style, format, coverage, and contents are designed to meet their specific requirements." Then, the book described the history of American intelligence and the Factbook. Pages xxx-xxxi lay out the organizational format for each country considered--including geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues (such as drugs, trafficking, and disputes).
To illustrate, let's consider the first country in the book, Afghanistan. There is a brief introduction. Geography? We see the territorial component (652,230 square kilometers, ranking it the 41st nation in the world, in terms of land). Current geographical issues include limited natural freshwater, soil degradation, deforestation, and air and water pollution. People: the coverage notes the divided ethnic structure and the many languages spoken. Startling (and a real problem)--42% of the population is between 0-14 years of age. Transportation appears to be an issue: there are 42,150 kilometers of roadway (86th in the world), with only 12,350 kilometers of paved roads.
The book considers countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The last segment of the book is a variety of maps.
All in all, a treasure for those who want basic information about the countries of the world.