I've got the old edition of this book and was worried that the new edition would not add much information other than the new recipes (my main reason for buying it). However, I was pleasantly pleased to find that the majority of the book has been updated. It's certainly the best book for a beginner as it keeps things fairly simple in terms of water treatment etc, but at the same time shows the areas that can be gone into further if desired. For a novice brewer I'd recommend this book follwed by the hefty How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right for the First Time
once they've got a few brews under their belt in order to understand the finner points of brewing.