Do not imagine you buy this one book and you buy the complete collection of the Dead Sea Scroll texts, all translated into English. Penguin have been a bit liberal with its title. No, the Biblical texts, like Isaiah and Genesis appear in other books, not here. This is a collection of the short parchment pieces, external to the Holy Bible. It comments on those secondary scraps which few take note of but which are very important in understanding the times especially of the days of Christ in first century Judea. These 'scraps' usually hold only a few words, sometimes less than a sentence, but for any student of the Dead Sea Scrolls - this is an invaluable work. Of-course Vermes gives his usual cutting introduction into the wayward start these parchments first found the light of day after entombed for near two thousand years, but the end result and overall effect of the book is a fully detailed, extremely well documented, explanation of each piece. Each is catalogued and can be researched further including its place of discovered origin. This is an excellent resource.
It goes into a lot of detail about the texts and the community itself in the introduction to the book, before it gets into the actual texts themselves, which is the main reason benefit I have derived from the book so far.
The texts themselves offer us an invaluable verification that the Bible has indeed been preserved for us through the centuries. One example is found on page 15 for example where Vermes says "Before 1947 the oldest Hebrew text of the whole of Isaiah was the Ben Asher codex from Cairo dated to 895 CE, as against the complete Isaiah scroll found at cave I, which is about a millennium older."
It's a Penguin Classic and quite a hefty tome. It does leave out the Biblical texts themselves, as they are obviously very well known, and very accessible and therefore of less interest to the general reader, though they can be found in a separate publication available here:
It's got a generous bibliography at the back too, which gives me the access I was looking for to decent works related to the Essenes theological, eschatological, religious and practical points of view, rather than the New Age tripe I was finding on Amazon's search engine.