for the target audience
Since the (at least to some people in the J2EE world) unexpected decline and fall of EJB 2.0, I have had a feeling of a shortage. Not a shortage of alternate technologies, but of appropriate information about them. I am thinking about "hardcopy" alternatives to the scattered knowledge (mainly in Web forums) about stuff like Hibernate, Spring, EJB 3.0 and Ibatis. OK there are some good titles out there, about Spring and Hibernate for example. But so far I haven't noticed any effort to give a more complete overview of the different J2EE lightweight API:s, nowadays growing up like dandelions in the ashes after the EJB Colossus. And there is indeed nothing that could aspire for the epithet "Bible". Maybe that situation is at an end with this publication.
The title itself "POJOs in action" is misleading. It implies to be only about the simple, yet canonical, Java bean with it's getter and setter methods. But nothing could be more from the truth. Almost every author of technical books nowadays make acknowledgements to his/her family, thanking them for their support and patience. In this case I believe there IS some substance in the dedications. Because a very pedantic effort has been done to create detailed, yet simple to follow, examples to highlight what the text is about all over the pages. With some experience of Java and J2EE you can easily follow along the code, without writing anything by yourself.
The whole approach is something between developer/architect, and I am convinced both categories would profit from reading it. Hibernate is covered to an extent that you almost not need any other book about it. EJB 3 is explained in a far better way than for example in IBM:s "red books", and the chapters about persistence and transactions in this "new world" feel almost invaluable. One drawback, (if it now really is a drawback), is that it feels unsatisfactory to read only a single chapter. Let's suppose you want to know more just about facade design. It don't give enough information to read only that part. Therefore, this book should be read in it's entirety, and it really deserves it. For a developer educated in the EJB 2.0 paradigm, moving to more lightweight J2EE API:s, I can't imagine any better way to get up-to-date than getting a copy of this. Still, the target group is more or less experienced J2EE developers, and a pure beginner in J2EE will soon get lost.