This book needs one of those "click to look inside" features. Then guitar students would see what a well thought out text book this is. A wonderful asset for the intermediate guitarist (1.5 years of instruction).
The book starts out with a quick review of the hardware that made blues history. Given the level of sophistication of the songs and analysis I'm sure the reader will know all this. The reader probably already has a guitar so its rather late anyway in the game to recommending hardware. There is then a nice review of the components of blues: harmony, box patterns and such. It is nicely done and useful as you plow through the book but you might have that. Its more useful than the equipment section.
The main part of book gives the transcriptions to 11 songs like Killing Floor, Hideaway, The Things That I Used To Do etc. Every song has a very nice detailed paragraph on each section of the song (intro, outro, solo) in a digested format so that when you look at the piece you're not just seeing a bunch of notes / tab. You're just read an idea that strings the notes into a cohesive thought or thoughts. This not only makes learning the pieces more enjoyable but it makes them easier to learn! And as a bonus having those ideas makes you want to change them up a little and improvise on your own using the existing piece as a jump off point. The provided analysis gives you the direction to try.
Another nice aspect of this book is that for certain songs, like Killing Floor, Marshall discusses more than one artist's interpretation. I think seeing up close what other people do with a song that you just learned really improves your musical understanding. I love that part.
This book is rather advanced. I would think two years of instruction and active learning and you should be able to tackle it. You should be exposed to pentatonic and blues scales. He fills them in for you so you don't have to memorize them but you should know the what, where, how and why of them. Everything is in TAB and Staff so if you're not that good at reading music you can still follow along. There is a CD with it that makes working out the pieces a pleasure.
Minus? Why not more songs or a Vol. 2? I think he could have discussed where these solos came from chordally a bit more to help see it differently and to help the reader in venturing into the improvisational world. He discusses the importance of that so adding the information would be consistent with his message. Not a biggie really but why ask for the moon?
This is a great value in guitar instruction for the intermediate+ player. You can use it on your own or use it with an instructor and go pretty far fast.