The above book description mentions 350 photos, but you actually get over 400 rare illustrations. That's because on top of the photos, the book also includes lots of rare Japanese studio advertisements from way back, engravings directly related to the narrative, and other rarely (or never-before-seen) graphics relating to the subject of the book. The text is not a warmed-over review of all the same material found in other Japan Photo-histories, but offers one insight and revelation after another. The author also drags into the book a lot of photographers either never heard of before, or usually not associated with Japan. For example: Jack London, the author of "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" is discovered scrambling all over Japan, China, and Korea, trying to escape the Japanese police and military in those places, while shooting photos for a US Newspaper Syndicate. He gets arrested at least three times under incredible circumstances, driving the Japanese authorities to the limits of exasperation. Stories like this are non-stop covering Japanese photographic adventures from the 1850s all the way to the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912 (and even a little beyond!). There's lots of behind-the-scenes drama touching on the private lives of the photographers, who in most Old-Pictures-of-Japan type books are usually discussed only in direct relationship to the photographs they took. Author Bennett sweeps nothing under the rug as scandal after scandal follows in the footsteps of one intrepid photographer after another -- all while seeing them produce some of the finest photography the world has ever seen. In books such as this, we are generally used to seeing only the album views of Beato, Stillfried, Kimbei, Fasari, Tamamura and others. Bennett gives us all of those (including many images never published before) as well as rarely seen photo-portraits of all these photographers who are usually mentioned without a face to go with it. However, here for the first time, we are also introduced to many other "album view makers" that for one reason or another slipped through the cracks of history. In another departure from the standard fare, lots of old and beautiful stereoviews appear scattered throughout the book. As a lover of 3-D images, I was surprised at the amount of old stereoviews packed onto the pages, incuding several found in my own old boxes of views. No viewer is included -- as it was not meant to be a 3-D book -- but if you can get your eye-balls to cooperate, it's free-view heaven for those that handle it. So, if you like the history of photography in general, and Japan in specific, this latest offering in the field of Asian photographic history will not disappoint. Drawing on over 50 world-wide collections, it has almost every format and style of image in perfect historical balance from cover to cover, along with a fresh new text that never quits. Both the newcomer who wants to be introduced to it all, and the collector, dealer, or archivist who wants to be informed of all the latest diggings into the life and times of these major players (and many important minor ones as well) will probably end up cracking this book open on more than one occasion -- only to find themselves sucked into the world of old Lotus-Land Japan; a world long since wiped off the face of the earth.