My grandfather has the original 1902 version of this books, as I have found, we often are adding newer copies to protect their older reference works in our collections. In this instance, the newer version is not a totally reprint. The 1902 version, while a wealthy of information, lacked the colour plates, which so left a lot to the imagination.
Foster listed in one single volume the feudal noblemen and knights, along with their heraldry, culled from ancient medieval rolls of arms. This book stands as the standard and often the 1902 editions are considered high price collectors items. In passing his love of history and books to me, my grandfather gave me the thrill of holding a book in my hands, sensing his timeless value. So I love the 1902 editor for that, the timeless, peerless quality of the work in a binding we don't see today.
However, for the love of history I much prefer this reprint. One, I can rattled through it as often as I like and not worry and handling with care, and two, the colour brings alive Foster's work.
This book is the unsurpassed standard for heraldic rolls accessible to the public, but its more than just a roll call of knights and nobles, artists and designers can benefit from the complicated and symbolic patterns, so the 80 year period between editions was one that is well worth it on many levels. To writers of this period, either history fiction or historical romance - this is a MUST!!
There are a number of chart pedigrees, drawing of warriors in their medieval dress of chain and mail, with shields, spurs and tabards, so it is interesting, I am sure, to the rein-actors or SCA members looks to make their customs more accurate. Again an amazing reference for the writer wanting to give more details to their novels. There is a special section of badges (still not in colour) and a section of Ancestral names.
It's just a rainy day delight to someone who loves the Middle Ages, history and a book that gives it all.