This book has apparently been updated from its original version. It's a shame that the illustrations weren't updated, nor were the photographs. With a tome of this size and volume, and with so much competition on the market for similar reference books, at least the occasional colour photo would have been a real improvement. It's often difficult to see stitch distinctions with black/white/grey photos. And the illustrations are inadequate at best, terrible at worst. In comparison, Debbie Stoller's book, "Stitch'n'Bitch Superstar Kitting" presents clear illustrations and in language which is up-to-date and easy to follow, albeit a bit quirky and slangy from time to time.
And what about actually using this as an instructional reference book? I decided to give it a "test run". First I looked up "provisional cast on" as I needed a refresher in this function. There are a few paragraphs dedicated to this task, sprinkled on various pages throughout the book. None of the references are clear in their instruction, and because they are not all presented in one section, it was difficult comparing one to the other in terms of ease of use or applicability to the required area of knitting.
Then, I looked up "mitered squares" as I am currently knitting a sweater with this feature and, again, wanted a refresher. This is currently quite a trendy function in knitting; yet there was no reference to "mitered squares" specifically in the book. Sure, there were references to mitering as a function -- for example, in the corner hem of a garment; and again, they were sprinkled in 3 or 4 places throughout the book and given a paragraph or two of text. These references were of no help to me.
Then, I looked up "short rows". Lots of references here, in various sections of the book, but don't hope for clarity in this function by way of the illustrations. They are unclear and bewildering.
Last, I wanted to see if the book addressed any of the more recent (and popular) techniques, so looked up "the magic loop". Yes, there is a section which describes the "looped needle method" for casting-on, but in my opinion, it would be impossible to understand this technique, given the instructions provided, if you had never done it before. In the book's defense, it did provide a footnote to another source where readers could actually learn more about this technique.
So, in summary, based on my "test run", I rated this book as inadequate and less then helpful in functions which might be considered challenging for many of us knitters. I think it is a reasonable reference, in the way that a set of encyclopedia is a reasonable reference. It gives you just enough information to encourage you to look elsewhere for more detailed and practical information. The book is voluminous and unweildy; its information is dispersed throughout in so many different sections, making comprehensive instruction difficult to follow; its language is conservative and still a bit old-fashion. I will put it on my knitting bookshelf, but would be surprised if I ever use it as a valuable instructional source of information. Would I give it to a young beginning knitter? Not likely -- too overwhelming; too daunting; and lacking in modern "punch".