Book Reviews

Here are some book reviews; most of them from the appropriate newsgroups (rec.arts.books, misc.books.technical, alt.books.technical,, or the very new Regarding reviews, these groups tend to carry the same material. They differ mostly in propagation and S/N ratio.

Review Archives

Held Locally

New reviews are entered at the top. (Please don't ask for the criteria a review must fulfill to be stored here. I don't really know myself.)

(15.08.95) A bunch of reference book reviews, by Steve Brock.

(15.08.95) UNIX System Administration Handbook, by Evi Nemeth, Garth Snyder, Scott Seebass, and Trent Hein, reviewed by Rob Slade. A most positive review. If it is cheap enough, I might buy it, for reference purposes.

(04.08.95) The Myth of Repressed Memory, by Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham, reviewed by Helge Moulding. A long review that features an extensive summary of the book. When you live with a world-view that your memory to a large degree determines what you are, it is disconcerting to read about how malleable human memory is.

(29.07.95) "The Complete Idiot's Guide to UNIX", by John McMullen, reviewed by Rob Slade. Despite the obnoxious title, this seems to be a useful intro for the clueless newbie. (One of these days, I'll buy one of these books, carry my ole NeXT to my mother's work room, and observe how far she delves into them UNIX mysteries within, say, two days.)

(29.04.95) A Retargetable C Compiler: Design and Implementation, Fraser & Hanson, reviewed by David Koosis. What can I say? I bought the book and am a big fan of it. Currently on page 110. You might want to look into my notes on the book.

(30.03.95) The Information Superhighway: Beyond the Internet, by Peter Otte, reviewed by Rob Slade. A damning review, as can be expected by a book with such a title. So why did I include it into my review list? Because there is an abundance of such books, people read them, and (often enough) form their opinions based on them. As they say in another forum: the RISKs should be clear.

(22.03.95) 3 Mini Reviews: LCC / Implementing Prolog / CWeb by Ozan S. Yigit. I'll have to buy the LCC book; I've been waiting for it for years (when i heard Chris Fraser speak of The Book To Come, at Dagstuhl). Should be a good antidote to the Dragon book.

(10.03.95) Software Portability With imake, by P. DuBois, reviewed by Bob Slade. Imake belongs to the class of programs about which i don't want to know anything, but which I have to handle once or twice a year anyhow. Somehow I got the impression that imake is a ``hack tool'' -- something that makes up for a deficit by ingenious ways that don't really solve the problem. Still, imake might be used for more general things than just installing X, just like make is useful for more than compiling C programs.

(21.02.95) Not really a review, BMCIH: the Unofficial Internet Book List - Version 0.9 (115k)

The Design and Evolution of C++, by B. Stroustrup, reviewed by Rebecca Leann Smit Crowley. I own the book myself, so I don't really need the review. It mostly reflects my own views. Bjarne manages to exhibit some partial blindnesses that are astonishing (first he says that garbage collection is not really needed at the core language level, tacitly assuming it can be bolted on; then he discusses techniques of doing so, noting that they are all faulty and/or non-portable, finally he says "but it should be possible"). The discussion of template instantiation is also hilarious, especially when you know how much of a non-problem all this would become if "real" polymorphism (type variables and all that) would be allowed.

High Performance Computing, by K. Dowd, reviewed by Rob Slade. I simply have to store a review that ends in ``Listen, an *executive* could read this. And there's a good chance he'd even *understand* it!''

"MH & xmh: E-mail for Users & Programmers" by J. Peek, reviewed by Rob Slade. More a review of MH than the book.

"Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats" by Murray/vanRyper, reviewed by Rob Slade. Could come in handy someday. ``The authors definitely give value for money: that, and then some. They are also to be commended for an enormous and major work which should become a standard reference.''

"Applied Cryptography", by Bruce Schneier, reviewed by Rob Slade. ``As course text, research basis or just a (serious) hobbyist's reference, this work is highly recommended. '' Luckily I have no interest in cryptography at all, otherwise I would now be rushing out to buy this book.

"Net Games", by Maloni, Baker, Wice, reviewed by Rob Slade.``Well-researched and well-prepared, this is a cornucopia of information for
those who don't already waste enough time on the computer networks.'' This surely does not describe you or me.

"The Software Developer's and Marketer's Legal Companion", by G. Landy, reviewed by Rob Slade."For the small software developer or marketer, this is worth many times the cover price." Oh well, I put it in to have something on legalisms.

"Understanding Japanese Information Processing", by Ken Lunde, reviewed by Rob Slade.
This (quite positive) review has the added distinction to take the form of a letter to the author. The reviewed book is interesting in that it describes a problem area most programmers and system designers still don't think about enough, namely non-ASCII data processing.

"Books in Print 1994-95, 47th edition", reviewed by Steven Brock.
Just for curiosity value: I never thought that anyone would write a review of such a cultural icon as "Books in Print". I am now hunting for a review of the KJV Bible...

"The Complete C++ Primer", by Weiskamp/Flamig, reviewed by Rob Slade.
Sometimes people who know C ask me what book to use as an introduction and reference in basic C++ questions. This book might fit the bill.

"C++BookList Version 0.08", compiled and posted to comp.lang.c++ on Nov 16, 1994 by Harvey Taylor, names, describes and critizes 71 books on or related to C++.
I put it here 'cause it might come in handy one day. Updates are posted monthly, I believe. Translated with a naive script that does not (yet) recognize embedded links.

"Tcl and the Tk Toolkit", by John Ousterhout, reviewed by Rob Slade.
Not much of a review, really. I just keep it around so that I can look up the ISBN if I ever need it ;-) The review doesn't make it at all clear whether this book has any extra material that does not surface in the documentation. (Nov 16, 1994)

"The UNIX-Haters Handbook", by Garfinkel/Weise/Strassmann, reviewed by Robert Slade.
"Weise" is Daniel Weise, of partial evaluation fame. I looked into his homepage some months ago and found a note that he was in the process of co-authoring a UNIX-HATERS book. Here it is. I wouldn't pay money for it, but I would read it if was accessible. (Nov 15, 1994)
Later:After having found a WWW page on the UNIX-Haters Handbook in the web pages of Don Hopkins, I am more inclined to buy the book. His chapter on X really hits the mark!
Latest:Have read it (thanks, Jutta!) and written down a few comments.

"The Mosaic Handbook for (three architectures)", by Dougherty/Koman/et al. reviewed by Steven Brock.
This book comes in three variants, for X, Mac, and (shudder) Windows. A disk with a souped-up version of Mosaic comes with it, so 30$ should be a fair price if it guarantees a successful installation at home, without the net's resources available. Again, I wouldn't buy it, but I might look into it if I wanted to install Mosaic on my lonesome Mac. (Nov 15, 1994) There exists also a rather uninteresting small review of the X variant of the book, by Bob Slade.

``Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses'', reviewed by Robert Slade.
This initiated the book reviews page; it was so funny I had to save it, and I needed a place to put a link to it in. Of course, the review tells nothing about the book. IMHO viruses are boring (hackery at the deepest level without any redeeming characteristics); so I wouldn't buy or read the book anyway, even if it was as good as described. (Nov 15, 1994)

(05.03.95) Related page: Books I am currently reading (or have read since the installation of that page)
This page was last changed on Mar 30 1995, 14:40 by Comments and corrections welcome.