From the back of the book:
"For centuries, the powers of the Inner Sphere have looked down on their brethren in the Periphery with thinly-veiled disgust. To the "civilized" worlds of humanity, the Periphery is a backwater, not a place where any respectable person would want to live. And many still remember that the nations of the Periphery fought tooth-and-nail against the Star League's attempt to unite all of humanity in a new golden age. Full of hardship, immorality, lawlessness and danger, it is a vast and little-understood region of space.
But that's not the whole story. The Periphery is all of the things that people say about it, but it is also much more. The Taurian Concordat has a better educational system than most Successor States. The citizens of the Magistracy of Canopus enjoy more freedoms than their counterparts in the Inner Sphere. Even the bandit kingdoms are getting into the act, with realms such as the Circinus Federation and the Marian Hegemony making moves towards legitimacy.
ComStar continues its series of sourcebooks detailing human space with a look at the Periphery in all its facets, good and ill. Learn the history of the various nations beyond the Inner Sphere, including the Rim Worlds Republic, home to the treacherous Amaris clan. See how life differs out in the wilds, where every danger is balanced by the freedom to live unfettered by the petty oppressions of the Successor States."
This first edition of The Periphery - also listed as Guide to the Periphery - is very similar in style and layout to the five House books released by FASA around the same time, and is the only edition to give much detail on those Bandit kingdoms wiped out during the Clan invasion era of BattleTech.