Murach's books are usually very practical and hands on. Cookbooks are for a different purpose. There are many cookbooks and it will be useful if you can give us the link to the book.
Cookbooks are usually Problem-Solution based which are useful if you are already familiar with the technology but not for someone starting new.
Java EE 1.4 is old. Java EE 6 has already been released and Java EE 7 development is in progress. So choose the Java EE 6, I believe there have been quite significant changes between java EE 5 and Java EE 6.