This is a substantial book (just short of 1000 pages) that covers the whole subject. There is a short tutorial on OO and the text moves from C through C++ to Java so ACCU members should be at home with it.
The obligatory'History of Java and the web' is present, but it does not dwell on the web usage of Java, rather it looks at Java as a language in its own right. There is a very useful comparison between applets and applications, which shows when you would use each and why. The text describes the main Java packages (class libraries), the AWT (graphical tool kit) and the 9 APIs (as of mid 1996). It does also look at TCP/IP addressing in the network section for those who really must use Java on the web.
As a team wrote the book, with each author taking several chapters, there is a little overlap between sections. It also means that each section is self-contained.
The CD contains the usual raft of Java development environments including Mac's and one for Win 31, though it is predominately Win95/NT.
As with the other 'mastering' books this one gives comprehensive coverage. The only problem is that Java is still developing. However I shall keep this book to hand when experimenting with Java.
A Book Reviewers footnote to Publishers:I have been reviewing books for some years now and it pains me that there appear to be fewer good books but a lot more mediocre (and down right appalling) books. What a waste of trees. The fact that modern methods have made book production cheaper and easier (and almost everyone has a word processor to write a book with) should not be a reason for producing more rubbish, but for producing better books at a lower cost.
Although I get my books for free I ask myself if I would buy them at the cover price. The odds have gone from 2 in 3 (10 years ago) to 1 in 6 now.
Perhaps publishers could offer computing books on CD? The costs, for production and distribution, would be lower and fewer trees would be wasted. This has happened with many international standards already.
So PLEASE can we have few books of higher quality (with a choice of media)?