It fascinates me that many of the posted reviews are not based on making the recipes but rather on a quick skim and estimates/assumptions about cost or ease of preparation. To my mind, the only measure of a cookbook's value is in the cooking. Flashy pictures, an attractive font type, and easy navigation are great, but if the recipes don't deliver, who cares? And if the recipes are great, does the other stuff really matter? Nevertheless, this book delivers on all fronts.
I have made about a dozen of the new recipes from this book, and had already made another 10 or 20 that had appeared on the Cook's Illustrated website, magazines, or other books. Some of these are true knockouts (saag paneer, spicy caramel catfish, Indonesian fried rice, elote, camarones a la plancha) and I have found none that are anything less than really good food (green beans with cilantro, French Onion soup, Indian Vegetable Curry). As a bonus, some of these recipes are actually much easier, cheaper, and healthier than the more elaborate, fat-laden inventions I usually associate with CI.
Yes, there are repeats from other sources, but I don't know how this could be avoided. The pad thai and panna cotta recipes really are near perfect--how could you leave those out of an international cookbook? And why would you make needless variations on already great recipes? Yes, there are missteps (for example, the first recipe in the Indian section includes beef). True, there is no table of contents, but the organization couldn't be clearer or more intuitive--by region, then by type of dish.
Buying and cooking from this book will give you an in-depth introduction to most of the world's cuisines--it's one of the largest books CI has delivered. The recipes are far more reliable than you're likely to find picking up a random Thai or Spanish cookbook. I've had a great time making these recipes, and I really hope Cook's Illustrated continues in this vein.