Here's what this book says: Labor is painful. You should get an epidural. There are other drugs you can get but they probably won't be good enough and then you will get an epidural. There are other methods of coping. Some of them work, but you should still get an epidural. For example laughing gas, but it's too cheap to charge insurance companies, so we don't offer it. Birth stories: it's unpredictable and even hippies get epidurals.
If I was only going to read one book on labor, this would not be it. The book "Easy Labor" is written by an obstetric anesthesiologist, so it's no surprise that it advocates a medicated birth. That said, I did like the detailed break down of the medical procedures that could potentially be offered and am glad to have this perspective in mind because it is definitely the reigning attitude at any of the hospitals we will end up in.