I was already familiar with the HTML and CSS guide in the "Briliant" series when I started reading "Brilliant Dreamweaver CS5". The approach is very hands-on and for Dreamweaver you don't need all the background information.
I am an absolute beginner myself, and I decided to buy this book after borrowing it from the library. It's good to keep on the shelves as a reference.
The lay-out of the book is very functional. Images are full colour. I would have preferred the Mac version of Dreamweaver for images, not the Windows version. Not that it really matters, but it looks much better.
If you're starting with Dreamweaver this is all you need. If you want to progress in webdesign, CSS, etc. there are other books.