The stated aim of this book is to provide an Oracle reference manual that 'can be lifted without mechanical assistance'. This book just about manages this on both counts.
Although it covers Oracle 9i, it carefully labels features that are new for this release and Oracle8i, making the book useful for users of older versions. This book covers a great deal of ground and is generally arranged logically with a clear and concise writing style. In particular I found the treatment of the configuration section useful as it grouped the configuration items into related sections rather than listing them alphabetically. I also found the Data Dictionary much improved over the on-line documentation in this regard.
Although this book weighs in at a little over 900 pages, it suffers from being over-condensed. I particularly noticed this in the SQL*Plus section, which is a truncated version of the SQL*Plus Pocket Reference book (literally - the phrases are word for word the same). The truncation can make the book harder to read. For example, commands are condensed into a minimal number of rows rather than spread out in a more readable, but less space-efficient way. Also examples, which although strictly unnecessary, can make a reference much easier to read, are jettisoned. The same abrupt style pervades the book. In short, this is a well-written book that provides a wealth of information, in a highly condensed form.
However, a reader who did not use many of the packages described within this reference might chose to own several smaller but less compacted books, or use the reliable but less well written Oracle documentation.Pocket References