This is the typical book by Herbert Schildt. It's written along the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" principle. Short, simple , to the point little program that dissect and illustrate the main aspects of the subject under discussion. A classic "Divide et Impera" strategy. His stregth are mainly in the introductory and reference texts, that is the ones that focus on the basic and fundamental technologies and don't require the effort of running after the latest evolution of the latest cutting edge technology or coping with the complications involved in industrial strength, real world applications. I understand this guy, I too like to concentrate in the fundamentals, avoiding the ephemeral technologies and the complications that often plague real world applications not because of the depth of the subject but because of inherent complications in the business they try to model, customization etc.. This allows Schildt to have a solid background on the fundamentals on a wide range of subjects and explain these subjects with outstanding clarity. The bad side is that his books will be useful to you only if you are a total beginner looking for a gentle start (like for this book) or for experienced developers looking for a little fun playing with interesting little programs ( like for the "Art of XXX" series ).
So , to sum it up, get this book if you don't mind spending money on a gentle introduction that will give you a clear view on the basics, but be warned that for the more complex, big picture, in the trenches work you will be on your own. Unfortunately the only book I know that presents Java GUI programming with a real world focus is written in french: Swing by Emmanuel Puybaret, which you can be found on amazon.fr.
As a final note, a 40 bucks price tag for an introductory text is definitely out of this world