As a fan of the Very Short Introduction series I was intrigued when I saw a copy of Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes on the desk of my professor, and went to look for it on Amazon almost immediately. While I searched for it I also discovered that there were other books in this series and that one of them was Hume in 90 Minutes. Being a neo-Humean myself and a person who is interested in general introductions, I ordered the book along with the book on Wittgenstein. While I did not expect the book to tell me much I did not already know or to be a complete overview of Hume's philosophy (It would be difficult to squeeze the contents of 4 books, a history, and a collection of essays into 90 minutes), I did hope that the book would be a good starting point in understanding the importance of Hume's philosophy for those unfamiliar with it, and I also hoped I would be able to recommend the book to those who are novices to philosophy. I can say after reading the book that a more appropriate title for it might be Getting Hume Wrong in 90 Minutes.
The book begins with two glaring errors, the first being that the author claims that philosophers had all long been atheists but Hume was the first one to be open about it, and also that Hume was a solipsist (a person who believes that they alone exist and everything else is simply a figment of their imagination). Hume was not an atheist, and responded to charges of atheism when they were leveled against him (see Hume's Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend in Edinburgh). Most Hume scholars (with the possible exception of Paul Russell) have also maintained that there is not good evidence to support the idea that Hume was an atheist. As for Hume being a solipsist, this is a charge that shows that the author is not that familiar with Hume's philosophy. One of Hume's famous doctrines from his book A Treatise of Human Nature is his bundle theory of personal identity, which is the doctrine that the self is nothing but our perceptions; there is no "you" to speak of. If Hume denied that there was a self, how he could be a solipsist and claim that he was sure that he was the only thing that existed in the universe?
These two themes recur each time the author talks about Hume's philosophy, which is not very often. For the most part, the book talks about Hume's life and speaks of his philosophical doctrines only in passing, but even there several details given are erroneous (For example the author gets Hume's birthday wrong; Hume was born on April 26, 1711 OS, not April 24, 1711). Since the author cannot even get basic historical facts correct, perhaps it is a good thing that he did not also mislead his audience about Hume's theories.
If a novice is seriously interested in Hume, I would recommend Simon Blackburn's How to Read Hume as the place to start. If one is is interested in Hume's life The Life of David Hume by E.C. Mossner is still the best biography available. Of course, if one really wants to know Hume's ideas, they should read Hume himself. He is one of the most accessible of all the philosophers, and I would recommend starting with his masterpiece A Treatise of Human Nature. As a neo-Humean, as a philosopher, and as a person who simply likes books that get their facts right, I must encourage anyone reading this review to not purchase this book. It is an insult to Hume and to philosophy generally.