I am about a quarter of the way through How Buddhism Began, and am enjoying. A couple of standpoints I don't agree with (and probably many fellow Buddhists wouldn't also) but the man is intelligent, thoroughly read and knowledgeable, and presents his arguments coherently - whether one agrees or not.
(I like his observation on the Buddha having a sense of humor).
Thanks Thereductor, Ben and all for pointing me to this book. And Ven P, after reading just a quarter of this book I think your advice makes even more sense.
Mike, I still haven't managed yet to find an electronic version on Scribd of What the Buddha Thought (obviously thereductor you are still doubtful whether that is the right thing to do, I am too new to Scribd to even understand how it works!) nor any other electronic downloadable version. Physical delivery to Indonesia can be problematic!
Again, thank you all!