The great thing about this book is that it has an ephemeris, a chart that enables you to determine what degree the planets were in at the time of your birth. If you only know the sign, which is the most that you get from most "all-in-one" astrology books, then you can't really deal with the interrelations between planets, a key part of astrology. The equal house system is the only house system that the book offers, which is kind of a limitation, though as a table for any other system can run 50 pages, I understand their choice. There are full delineations of planetary house and sign placements as well as aspects between planets. These are clear and refreshingly open-ended; there's a clear implication that the parts of the chart have to be interpreted in terms of the whole. It's true that the instructions of how to do a chart could be clearer. And you're not going to get a deep understanding of the basis of astrological symbolism from reading this book. The book is beautiful but my copy was extremely poorly bound--it fell apart almost immediately, only partly because I used it a lot.
For anyone starting out, this is an excellent general introduction to the whole of astrology. Some 15 years ago, a very similar volume by the Parkers was one of the books from which I learnt the basics of astrology. Their style is accessible, imaginative, and not too heavy.
Whether you are interested in basic Sun sign characteristics, basic chart interpretation, prediction techniques, or which sign rules mulberries and bilberries (Sagittarius apparently!), its all here. The book is divided into four sections, which includes detailed tables for drawing up charts. Beginners should not be put off by the long section on the complexities of chart calculation, even though this is useful information. It is of course very easy to get a copy of your natal chart done by computer, and start from there.
The often beautiful illustrations and pictures add considerably to the quality information in Parkers Astrology. It certainly makes the process of learning astrology easier on the eye! I recommend this book for the beginner, perhaps together with one of the more "serious" introductions, such as The Classic Guide To Astrology by Ron Davison.