Craig Maloney submitted this review of Addison-Wesley's entry in the tough field of books on C (book title: C), and pulls no punches in comparing it to others. He says it's slightly above average, but that "experienced programmers will likely pass on this book." Read the complete review below for his reasoning.
Lost in the Company of Giants
It's hard not to take a book like C and compare it to such acclaimed and trusted books as K&R, Expert C Programming, and other lesser known, but equally good tomes. Unfortunately C doesn't really compare with many of the other classic books covering the C language. For starters, the writing in this book isn't quite up to the same caliber as the other books. Part of the problem with this book is language. English does not appear to be the author's native language. There are sentences in this book that require a few glances to glean the full meaning. C is difficult enough to present without a language barrier introducing more problems. Another problem is organization. The ideas presented at the beginning of the book are muddled and disjointed, with multiple ideas introduced but not formally explained until later. Beginners will have a terrible time working through this book without becoming quickly confused, and experienced programmers will likely pass on this book in favor of the other well-known books.
Not All Bad
The book is not all bad, however. The examples in the book are plentiful and are based on tried-and-true examples found in books like K&R. There are some idioms that are used in the examples that will irk the more structured programmers (not using braces in certain areas being the biggest example), but most of the examples are pretty good. Also, the explanations of the more advanced topics are relatively good considering how confusing the more basic material is. Memory management is explained well, with clear diagrams (although the programs are a bit confusing without a careful eye).
So What's in it for Me?
Addison-Wesley is clearly marketing this book to the same crowd that purchases quick-learning books. Unfortunately beginners purchasing this book will quickly find themselves lost amid the confusing descriptions in this book. Those who manage to muddle through will find some tasty bits of information locked inside, but the work involved in getting there outweighs the rewards. Most programmers will probably want to leaf through a copy of this book before purchasing it to make sure they'll get the most out of it.
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