This book is mostly a survey of Norman knights and Norman castles, hence the title. 40 of the 250 pages are on Norman knights which covers their equipment and appearance, construction and repair of arms and armor, training, tactics (mostly related to cavalry), logistics on campaign, and motivation to become knights. There are several drawings of Norman soldiers and their equipment which bring the descriptions and key elements to life. There is also 135 pages on Norman stone castles. Stone castles should be highlighted because the book focuses on stone castles and avoids discussion on timber castles except as a backdrop. This section is organized by locality discussing design elements and development in Normandy, Southern Italy, Sicily, and Britain. There is also a more detailed look at two of the strongest Norman castles: Chateau-Gaillard and Dover. This is followed by sections about defensive aspects of Norman castles, life in a Norman castle, and examples of how Norman castles performed in war during sieges. Throughout this section are numerous pictures of Norman castles as they are today with captions highlighting design elements discussed in the book and graphical depictions of several Norman castles as built or modified by the Normans before they were altered by destruction or modification by later groups. In the appendix is a list of key fortified sites with location of the sites as well as short description of what remains today.
If you are looking for a true history of the Normans you should look elsewhere. There is some material on the origins and Norman impact on England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Sicily, and the east (Byzantium and the Crusader Kingdoms). However, this is very limited. I enjoyed the book as a complement to historical texts that I have already read or plan to read. The great pictures and visual aids provide something that is missing when reading historical surveys or translated annals. If you found this book interesting and are looking for more on Normans, I would recommend Richard and John: Kings at War, which is an excellent history that covers much of Norman Angevin England history from Henry II to the death of King John, and 1215: The Year of Magna Carta, which explains more about the Norman culture (mostly relating to Norman Angevin England).