This book is volume two in a three volume anthology of the works of H.P. Lovecraft: a horror writer of real genius. I have already explained my reasons for according Lovecraft genius status in my review of volume one, so I shall not repeat myself here. For those who are interested I will place a link to that review in the comments section below.
Taking then my estimate of Lovecraft's merits as a writer simply as a given, the question then becomes one of the strengths of this particular volume.
The first thing you need to know is that unlike most serious writers, Lovecraft did not express himself in full-sized novels. Rather, he wrote exclusively in short stories and novellas. This means if you are going to explore his body of work, you are going to need to do so via collections such as this one. The great thing about this series (The H.P. Lovecraft Omnibus vols. 1 to 3) is that it contains literally everything Lovecraft ever wrote in three modest volumes. Thus, you can easily use this series to explore his writing without any difficulty or redundancy.
As compared to the other two volumes in the series, this book contains a far larger number of tales, most of which are individually rather short. For the benefit of those who are already Lovecraft fans, or who otherwise have some familiarity with his work, I shall now list the stories to be found in this specific volume:
Mature Works: Dagon, The Tomb, Polaris, Beyond the Wall of Sleep, The Doom that came to Sarnath, The White Ship, Aurthur Jermyn, The Cats of Ulthar, Celephais, From Beyond, The Temple, The Tree, The Moon-bog, The Nameless City, The Other Gods, The Quest of Iranon, Herbert West - Reanimator, The Hound, Hypnos, The Festival, The Unnamable, Imprisoned with the Pharohs, He, The Horror at Red Hook, The Strange High House in the Mist, In the Walls of Eryx, The Evil Clergyman.
In addition, this volume also contains a collection of juvenilia entitled "Early Tales". This contains: The Beast in the Cave, The Alchemist, Poetry and the Gods, The Street, The Transition of Juan Romero.
Further, it contains a section entitled "Fragments", which contains: Azathoth, The Descendant, The Book, The Thing in the Moonlight.
Finally, it contains a non-fiction essay Lovecraft wrote, entitled "Supernatural Horror in Literature". Some may consider this beautifully written and exceptionally lucid defense of his chosen genre to be the real prize of this volume.
Before concluding the review, there are three individual stories worth commenting on. Some readers may know "Herbert West - Reanimator" and "From Beyond" primarily from the films have been made from them (Re-Animator and From Beyond), both starring Jeffrey Combs. While these cinematic outings are entertaining enough in their own way, they are really little more than ghoulish frolics. Lovecraft's actual writing has a darkly baroque, reserved, even cerebral quality that the films do not even try to capture.
Lastly, it is I think important that we take the time to consider one of his juvenile pieces, The Street. There is no nice way around the fact that what Lovecraft actually describes in this tale is a small pogrom, and that he describes it in terms of glowing approval. His views on racial matters were not, to put it mildly, in accordance with those that prevail today. However, in all fairness I should also report that I have read that those who knew Lovecraft well claimed that he often took such positions simply to get a reaction out of those he considered his intellectual inferiors. It is undeniably the case that Lovecraft himself was ultimately to marry a Jewish Ukrainian woman.
I am not here going to try to sort out what Lovecraft's actual views on racial politics might have been. Instead, I will limit myself to observing the following: If we are going to explore the works of other cultures and other times, we are inevitably going to encounter attitudes profoundly at odds with our own. It is, of course, possible to avoid such encounters entirely. However, in the greater scheme of things I believe that such a practice would result in nothing more than the stunting of our own intellectual and cultural development.
In any event, as a reviewer I have done my best to outline for you what I believe you will find within this book. What you choose to do from here is up to you.