Let me first say that this book is by no means bad. It makes C as simple (I would bold “simple” if I could) as possible, breaks the topics up into bite sized chunks based on topics, warns you about common mistakes, and provides the code for a lengthy blackjack program at the end for your personal dissection and analysis. My main problem with the book is that it does not provide problems for you to solve. It just explains the language. If you couple it with a book that includes a large number of problems, then you’re all set.
That being said there are better (and cheaper) alternatives out there. Probably the best method of learning C is to subscribe to Harvard’s CS 50 podcast. The RSS feed can be found at http://cs50.tv/ , or you can search for “Harvard Computer Science 50” within the itunes store and subscribe to it from there. The podcast includes separate video and audio tracks from lectures conducted by the courses’ instructor, David J. Malan. The podcast also provides PDF’s of the problem sets along with copies of the class’s quizzes and answers. The best part is that you can get this all for free. The course filmed is fall 2007 I believe, so all of the lectures are up (meaning that you don’t have to wait for them, go ahead and download them all). The first few episodes from week 0 are a bit slow, but the course quickly picks up speed after that. If you want to get right into C, then I recommend that you start at week 1 (Week 0 is spent going over the basic workings of computer hardware components and some time is spent on a program called “Scratch”).
Another good, free place to start is the online tutorial found at
Reading, problem sets, and solutions to the problem sets are provided. Once you finish, you can move on to the intermediate section of the course found at
The only weakness of these courses is the number of problems provided for you to work on. Across all of the material from both sources I have mentioned, there is probably no more than 40 dedicated coding problems. Another review mentioned thatC Primer Plus (5th Edition)had a large number of examples, so I plan to look into it.
As for this book I may keep it around for use when I do not have access to a computer, but most likely I will give it away or sell it.