The Talmud is a very hard book to define. From content to style, every definition is incomplete or contradictory. The Talmud is completely unique – a book that has no parallel anywhere. By way of an oxymoron and paradox, the Talmud may be called a book of holy intellectualism. Because there is nothing quite like the Talmud, it is helpful to have not just one perspective, but two or three, so that one can have a sense of the multifaceted and often contradictory sides of this large, very complex work. The first view is more or less a complete historical background of the Talmud from its very beginning to modern times, because – as mentioned in the book itself – the creation of the Talmud began at the same moment with the written law and it will never really be finished. A second way to look at the Talmud is to describe the way it is structured and the subjects it deals with; this includes the many different areas of Jewish law, as well as philosophy, biology, psychology, legends, proverbs, and wisdom. The third is to discuss the methodology of the Talmud, to reveal its way of thinking.
The new English edition of the Steinsaltz Talmud is published by Koren, for more information and for purchase click here.

See also:
The Essential Talmud
Talmudic Images
Talmud- The Book of Sanity
Favorite Sugiya in Brachot
"Demons of our own Creation" Study Page