Not only is the history of the Czech Republic thoroughly explained, but the impact by the aristocratic families and the evolving architecture in Western Europe is detailed. Having traveled extensively in the country, toured many of these places, heard the histories and read the brochures, I still found the commentary to be better at explaining the larger story. Many of these rich families owned more than one castle/palace. After decades or centuries some family lines died out and the estates went to supporters of the crown. The book also covers the ongoing legal battles by the Schwarzenbergers and Lietchensteins to recover their properties.
The strength of the book is its story-telling. There are some exterior photos of the places discussed and a limited number showing interior rooms. I had hoped for a lot of interior photos because most of these places still do not allow photography without special permission. So I will have to be satisfied with the souvenir photos I was able to acquire. Because the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo architectural styles came late to this area, there are some unique looks to these buildings. Sometimes it is on the exterior but primarily the interiors with their marquetry, elaborate ceilings, and mixture of styles for different eras that really take your breath away. If you are impressed with the interior photos from Cesky Krumlov, Hluboka, Lednice, or Dobris you have barely started- there are even better rooms.
If you have not traveled outside of Prague, this book will definitely make you want to go. One thing this book will do is to help you understand this region's fascinating history that is virtually unknown to Americans. At the time of this review, the book sold for 10-$15 and you can't buy the full page color photos for that.