Recently I did a detailed comparison of the 5 or 6 major offerings in this area, which includes such traditional notables as the big Hammond atlas and the one from Oxford University Press, as well as the Dorling-Kindersley one, but this atlas is the best combination of features and price out there. It's only a fraction of the cost of the big Hammond one, for example, and is cheaper than the other two by at least 50%.
So I agree with several of the other reviewers here, that this atlas really rocks, and that in many ways it's better than any of the more famous other offerings in this field on the market, including the massive Hammond one and DK ones, which, as I mentioned, are a lot more expensive.
I've read my share of ancient history books, and this atlas is just the best way to get a good overview quickly of a particular time frame and period. I've used it to clarify many aspects of ancient history, for example, when I got lost in the details in reading more standard histories on the subject. In reading your typical ponderous history, it's so easy to lose the forest for the trees, and there is no better solution for the problem than this book.
Another nice feature of the book is that periodically throughout the text there will be essays at key years or junctures in history, such as "The World in 1914," or "The World in 800 BC," or whatever, in addition to the more topically oriented essays, such as "Old Kingdom Egypt," or "The Persian Empire," or "The Warring States (referring to 5th A.D. century China) which give you further historical perspectives on the events of the time.
The book is organized into two-page spreads with the essays and their corresponding maps and illustrations. According to the jacket text, the book was also prepared with the aid of graphics experts and geographers skilled at combining the written word with visual illustrations and graphics. I would say they and John Haywood succeeded admirably, making this a great book just to browse casually, or read more seriously. Haywood also writes very well and has a nice, deft touch with the material that avoids the dry, technical-sounding quality of some atlases.
Another nice feature of the book is the detailed, color-coded timelines that accompany each two-page spread, which some atlases don't always include or set aside in a separate section of the book. This makes it easier to use and more informative since it can be referred to along with the maps and the text.
My only fault with the book is that the coverage is typically Eurocentric, but this really only applies to the DK atlas, which is suprisingly strong in terms of its coverage of Asian, African, and non-European history in general. All the others are more Eurocentric, like this one.
Keep in mind that this book (like all atlases) aims at breadth rather than depth, since it covers the entire history of the world from man's earliest origins up to modern times. Overall a great altas and a fine book to keep you oriented in whatever period of history you are reading on.