I highly recommend this book.
The book is full color with BIG diagrams and closeups of the stitches. There are also many gorgeous pictures of completed works to inspire one. There are some very impressive looking techniques in this book, yet because of the clear explanations it was very easy for me to pick up the idea, start and finish my projects (and they came out pretty well for a beginner like me, if I do say so myself. Some of my past embroidery attempts were pretty pathetic). In short, it makes a lot of sense and isn't hard to understand at all.
The explanation of tools and necessary materials is very complete, yet I could still accomplish the various techniques with a cheap embroidery hoop, an embroidery needle, cotton cloth, and floss (rayon seems to work better at filling in large areas than cotton. Rayon looks more like the silk in the book). Still, it's nice to know about the other tools. I am sure they would be helpful for larger projects.
The pages are heavy enough that the book will stay open to the pages while one is embroidering (believe me this helps). I've used it in many projects and it's still in great shape (some of my other paperback "how to" craft books have fallen apart at the binding after similar use).
There is a little bit of history and some explanation of symbols and motifs (from pages 9-25). I found this fascinating. It's nice to know more than just "how to."
I think this is a great book! I especially liked the "weaving stitches" and his examples of layering stitches on top of stitches. They really make my projects look really fancy!