This outstanding book is published by National Geographic and it shows! Enough colorful pictures to qualify as a coffee table book but plenty of interesting text to work through as well. The book is written for the "educated layman", not too technical but at the same time assuming a basic understanding of science. The ratio of text to pictures is similar to the National Geographic magazine, perhaps a bit heavier on the text.
Raeburn begins with a summary of the different beliefs held about Mars before the spacecraft era, including the widely held one initiated by Lowell about canals constructed by intelligent Martians. Raeburn spends the bulk of the book taking us through NASA's various missions to Mars: Mariner, Viking, Pathfinder, and Global Surveyor. The book was published in 1998 and hence only provides a "preview" of the Global Surveyor findings. Today, of course, we have a complete global map of Mars in astonishing detail.
Also, Raeburn optimistically looks forward to NASA's continuing "faster, cheaper, better" program of Mars exploration. We already know that the orbiter and polar lander failed, so let's hope that the craft to be launched this year fare better. Raeburn also notes that in 2005 a craft will be launched that should bring rocks from Mars back to Earth!
Overall, definitely worth the price of entry for the pictures alone. There are even some neat 3-D pictures inside and the book provides 3-D glasses!