Silent Movies: The Birth Of Film & The Triumph Of Movie Culture, by Peter Kobel, styles itself as a "definitive illustrated history of silent movies". The key word here is 'illustrated', as the book's large, glossy images, many of which were previously unpublished, are its main attraction.
The book provides a useful introduction to silent cinema, though the text is a concise overview rather than an in-depth analysis. As in much writing about silent cinema, the American film industry and the star system receive the most coverage. A foreword by Martin Scorsese and an introduction by Kevin Brownlow add prestige to this lavish and accessible survey of silent film.
Anyone who is fascinated by this book should also read Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By and Hollywood, William K Everson's American Silent Film, and Richard Abel's Encyclopedia Of Early Cinema. Brownlow also directed two outstanding television series about silent film: Hollywood and Cinema Europe.