I/O is fundamental to all except the most trivial programs and the first chapter covers this in detail starting with the abstract base classes
InputStream, OutputStream, Readerand
Writer, then moving on to cover the various filters, random access, ZIP files, tokenizers, object serialisation, etc.
The remaining chapters are on particular application areas and may be read in any order. Topics covered include multi-threading, networking, JDBC (database connectivity), remote objects and RMI, advanced AWT (image manipulation and cut and paste), Beans, security (message digests, digital signatures, authentication, etc.), internationalisation and native methods (calling C/C++ from Java). Plenty of example code, which is available on the CD together with JDK 1.1 and various utility programs support each chapter).
This book gives a sufficient level of detail on the APIs to support real world application programs. More specialised texts would probably be required on areas where more depth was required for a particular application area. It could be used as a reference but I still prefer the O'Reilly Java Language Reference and associated volumes for this purpose.