It is indeed a chronological history of Conan taken from some comic book series or several, which means in addition to the canonical material there are some references to other stories not written by Robert E. Howard. The text is presented in a legendary history sort of fashion, with the non-Howard stories blended as more legend and the Howard stuff as more history.
This book is a smaller book of a larger work, and that leads to some unfortunate consequences, namely that the text was sometimes very hard to read. The book is by the publisher DK, who does a lot of comic book stuff, so the pages are full bleed graphics with text atop them. Sometimes, the contrast was not very good. To make matters worse, the font size doesn’t appear like it was designed for the size this book is. Instead, it looks as though they took the plates from a larger, more coffee table sized book and just shrunk everything down, including the text. Look:
For Pete’s sake, I almost had to go out and buy a pair of cheaters for this book. Or an electron microscope.
At any rate, it’s an interesting and brief book on the history of Conan and features some interesting art work from the comic books, but the book’s format itself hinders it quite a bit. Go for the full-sized Conan: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Savage Barbarian instead.
Books mentioned in this review: