Originally published in 1955, E. A. Burtt's "Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha" remains in print nearly half a century later for a very simple reason - it is a concise yet comprehensive introduction to Buddhist thought.
The book is divided into two sections:
Book One - The Early Scriptures of Buddhism
Book Two - Buddhist Thought Through Later Centuries
Book one includes basic doctrines such as the sermon at Benares (in which Gautama Buddha expounds for the first time upon the "Four Noble Truths" and the "Eightfold Path") and selections from the treasure that is "The Dhammapada" ("Way of the Truth").
The remaining thirty odd pages of this section contain material from the Therevada (or "Lesser Vehicle") school of Buddhism, which claims to follow the uncorrupted tradition of Buddha himself, focusing upon clearing of the mind and attainment of Nirvana.
Book two concerns itself with the Mahayana (or "Greater Vehicle") ideal, the core of which holds that since "all are one", universal salvation is the goal of Buddhist practice - as opposed to the Therevada notion of individual pursuit of Nirvana. Among other things, you will find here materials from the Chinese and Japanese Pure Land and Meditation (Zen) schools.
Both sections consist of translations (Burtt used the best he could find at the time) of actual Buddhist texts (such as the above mentioned "Dhammapada", "The Lotus Sutra", various philosophical and devotional treaties, etc.) so that the reader is receiving information more or less directly from the source. Also included is a helpful and illuminating introduction by Mr. Burtt in which he provides an analysis of the religious impulse in general and an overview of the Indian traditions from which Buddhism sprang and which it altered. In fact, Mr. Burtt provides commentary throughout the book, clarifying the distinctions between the Therevada and Mahayana schools and generally shining an erudite light on the various texts.
As an introduction to Buddhism this collection is ideal. As a refresher or reference for those already acquainted with Buddhist thought, this book is a valuable addition to any would be arhat's or bhikshu's library.