This book tries to appeal to widest possible audience by including server administration with the mod_perl programming issues.
Prerequisites are an understanding of the Perl programming language and the Apache web server. Elements handled differently by mod_perl and most of the common configuration options are explained, but this is neither a book on how to program nor an administrator's guide.
To get the most out of this book, you will need to be running Apache 1.3 on Linux or similar Unix type operating system. There are bits devoted to Windows but they are riddled with inaccuracies. There is also a section on Apache 2 but this is stuck at the back almost as an appendix.
When discussing programming, the authors' knowledge becomes apparent. Common problems are concisely, if occasionally a little tersely, explained and solutions presented. I would go as far a saying chapter six is a must read for anyone writing or converting scripts to run on a mod_perl enabled server.
The administration side is the opposite. The authors have a habit of wandering and advice gets vague. Chapters on performance and benchmarking are useful but feel bloated.
By attempting to cover everything information is often presented in bits and pieces, with administration information mixed with programming. Useful nuggets of information get sandwiched and are easily missed. The lack of reference tables could also be a problem.
It is difficult to recommend this book as it stands as the quality of the programming advice is drowned out by noise around it.