This book is a great explanation of how various different cultures among and outside of Christianity have viewed Mary. If you’re reading it as a defense of Mariology, you’re reading it wrong. However, a lot of the book does focus on justifying quite a bit of Mariological terms at least for Protestants. It serves as a fantastic treatment of historical views on Mariology. Jaroslav Pelikan is a proponent of developed theology. He was Russian Orthodox and everything he says seems to stem from an ecumenical agenda.
Not only that but Pelikan also rejects a lot of feminist rants about history as well. His explanations of why certain feminist rants are unjustified is brief and could probably be answered much more briefly in a blog post but they could also be easily refuted in another book as well. The feminist vision is largely a one-sided vision in an effort to smear men and champion the claim of women as the sole victim of persecution put onto them by men.
Pelikan’s work is quite well-informed and answers the charges often laid against the Catholic Church for promoting Mary apparitions left and right. We don’t. As Pelikan addresses, much of these were actually taken quite skeptically by the Catholic Church itself.
If you’re interested in where Catholic and Orthodox views on Mary came from, this is the book for you. If you’re interested in defending Mariology from Protestant attacks, this is still actually a pretty good book and part of it is apologetic. I thought it was interesting because it incorporated Islamic views into the book as well. Other than that, there’s nothing too much to it.