REVIEW - Pointers on C

Title:

Pointers on C

Author:

Kenneth A. Reek

ISBN:

0673999866

Publisher:

Addison-Wesley (1998)

Pages:

618pp

Reviewer:

Francis Glassborow

Reviewed:

August 1998

Rating:

5 out of 5

Let me stick my neck out and declare that this is the best introductory text on C programming that I have seen.

The author understands the needs of his readership and lays an excellent foundation.

If you have never programmed this is not a book for you. If you are already a competent C programmer, look elsewhere. However if you have some programming expertise in another language and think that you may have some talent (feel) for the programmer's art then this is an excellent book.

It is not a book about pointers despite the title and the cover (I feel sure that I have seen that picture used on another, ghastly, book on C). This is a book about programming in C. The author starts in straight away. No time is wasted explaining what a computer is, or giving you a history lesson on the origins of C.

The author thinks that pointers are an extremely important aspect of C and uses understanding of their use as a unifying theme. On the other hand he is quite willing (sensibly in my opinion) to tell you to do some things now and wait for the explanation till later. He introduces the address of operator as a simple requirement for reading values into scalar variables with

scanf()
. He explains the syntax later, much later. I can live with this style. The author doesn't brush aside problems, he provides you with what you need while posting a marker for a later explanation.

The text is littered with useful tips and sensible warnings. The author is well familiar with the standard C library and uses it extensively.

Let me stick my neck out and declare that this is the best introductory text on C programming that I have seen. The author understands the needs of his readership and lays an excellent foundation. If you have tried to learn C but still feel confused by what you have read, try this book. If at the end you are still having difficulty think about doing something else. If you finish this book and remember even a fraction of the advice encapsulated in the tips and cautions you will already be a better than average C programmer.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.