The problem with this book is that it's a mile wide and one inch deep. Each artist only gets a page or two, and the images are small - so you only get a brief taste. After a while all of the "radical" graphics look alike - and not much floats to the surface. You won't find yourself going back to this book for ispiration after you have opened it a few times.
There are some good designers represented here, but they get lost in coverage that reminds me of a bad yearbook. Most of the work looks pretty, but very little of it is realy smart. Some of the work shown was really cutting edge stuff back in 1985, but today it looks a little dated. If this book reprented itself as a study of alternative design from '85 to '95 that might be one thing - but it doesn't have enough perspective or go deep enough.
Whether you're concerned with traditional formal issues or more interested in making whacked out typographic designs, this book covers all the bases and touches upon nearly every relevant designer in the past 20 years or so. It's smartly split into three sections, the first focusing on the real movers and shakers in forward-thinking design (Rudy Vanderlans, Paula Scher, etc.), the second on those who are now enjoying success with the progress they've made (Designers Republic, Carlos Segura, etc.) and the "progeny" as they refer to them, the next wave of creative and innovative designers. Not only does the book have a healthy amount of full color illustrations to provide ample evidence of the designers' talents, but there is enough copy to be able to really consider this reading material (think of it as almost extensive captioning). It's nice to see a book that heralds both the well known names of the industry as well as up and coming talent, and that David Carson isn't necessarily the end all of high design in contemporary culture.