I've recently finished reading William A. Simmons' book, Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide. It is a 352 page book published by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. in 2008.
I wanted to read a book that would provide a good introduction to groups such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, Tax Collectors, Samaritans, Hebrews, and Hellenists that reflected current scholarship. I found what I was looking for and more in Simmons' book.
The book includes over 600 footnotes, most of which include annotations, and is enhanced by the inclusion of numerous charts, maps, illustrations and photos. While it would make an excellent textbook for an introductory college course on the New Testament, I intend to use it as a reference to supplement bible commentaries and dictionaries.