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An Introduction to Mechanics Hardcover – June 7, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0521198219 ISBN-10: 0521198216 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521198216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521198219
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Kleppner and Kolenkow's An Introduction to Dynamics is a classic textbook as useful today as when it was first published in 1973. It covers classical mechanics and energy through planetary orbits and oscillators as well as special relativity helping well-prepared freshmen to develop the conceptual understanding and mathematical confidence to tackle the analytical dynamics and quantum mechanics that is to come. Of particular note is the treatment of the difficult subject of rigid body dynamics. The worked examples and problems thoughtfully confront and resolve many of the confusions that students typically encounter."
Roger Blandford, Stanford University

"... the 'gold standard' for a mechanics text at this level and should be on the bookshelf of every serious student, alongside other classic books like Jackson's "Classical Electrodynamics" and Goldstein's "Classical Mechanics". I am glad to see it is to be re-issued by Cambridge at a more sensible price. This addresses the only negative feature of the book."
David Hanna, McGill University

"Kleppner and Kolenkow is a great textbook for advanced freshmen studying classical mechanics. It does a wonderful job of developing conceptual, mathematical intuition. The text, the examples, and the problems are all engaging and provide students with a strong foundation to become master problem-solvers. It is particularly good for developing an intuition for multivariable calculus in the context of classical mechanics."
Kathryn Moler, Stanford University

"An Introduction to Mechanics by Kleppner and Kolenkow is a great book. It is original and beautifully written and is really the only choice for a serious introduction to mechanics for well prepared physics majors. I very much enjoy the book every time I teach freshman mechanics."
Bruce Winstein, University of Chicago

Book Description

Intended for undergraduate students, this is a classic introductory textbook on the principles of Newtonian mechanics. It contains numerous worked examples and challenging problems to help students understand how the principles can be applied to a wide range of physical situations. Password-protected solutions are available for instructors at

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Customer Reviews

There are very few problems that are difficult to solve after reading the text.
Amitava Bhattacharya
This book provides a comprehensive, convenient and compelling introduction to the subject of mechanics, including a bit of special relativity.
Shen Zeyu
I used this book in my freshman honors physics class at Cornell, and it is a great physics text.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 123 people found the following review helpful By K. Luey on September 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Wow, here it is at The textbook used for "Advanced" freshman physics/mechanics at MIT. I first used Kleppner's book when it was a collection of notes in a binder. It was not for sale at the bookstore; you bought it at the Undergraduate Physics office for, [$$$] I recall.
But here's the real point: this book, and its wonderful set of homework problems, was written for freshman completely and thoroughly trained in differential and integral calculus. After all, mechanics is all about calculus. I have read many science book reviews here at Amazon, and I am getting the impression that there are many well-prepared students out there, and that calculus is a second language by high school graduation. If this is true, then forget Halliday/Resnick. Forget Serway, forget Giancoli. If you know your calculus well (and I mean well) and you take Freshman Physics using those books, you have wasted a perfectly good semester.
It's as simple as this: Does F = ma? Or does F = dP/dt? (Where, of course, F, P and a are vectors.) The problems are, indeed, challenging. They require thinking, reasoning and excellent mathematical skill. They do not simply ask you to draw a force diagram, plug in some masses, resolve some vector components and ask you what the net motion is. From my own personal experience, it is difficult to learn calculus and study this book at the same time. Do your calculus first, and maybe even some differential equations. I think this book is not widely used because it is not easy to ensure that 100% of the class comes in with a good grounding in calculus. That is perhaps why it is sometimes spoken of here as an "honors" level textbook.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Paul Heiney on July 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a college professor who has used this text a number of times for an honors course in freshman physics. Quite simply, it is in a class by itself. Standard physics textbooks (Halliday/Resnick, Serway, Young/Freedman, etc.) are all pretty similar to each other, and pretty good if you are learning calculus at the same time. Then there are mechanics books suitable for junior/senior physics majors, or graduate students. There just isn't anything else in between.
Students, however, uniformly report that they hate the book--they sometimes express this view quite vehemently in course evaluations. Those that find the course valuable tend to view it like a particularly rigorous boot camp--maybe for Green Berets or Navy Seals or something like that--really tough while you are doing it but a deep sense of accomplishment afterwards.
The book is about as non-glossy as you can imagine--no color pictures (or color anything else), no cool pictures of rock climbers or ballet dancers, no warm fuzzies. Just text and equations. But everyone agrees that the homework problems are cool and challenging.
Under no circumstances should you use Kleppner and Kolenkow unless you (or your students if you are the instructor) have completely mastered basic calculus and are moderately comfortable with concepts like multidimensional integration, partial derivatives, and differential equations. And be prepared to work hard.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Homer on June 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This text is used for MIT's advanced mechanics course, taught in the fall of the freshman year, sometimes still by Dan Kleppner himself. Historically, about 50% of the students drop out of the course and retreat to one of the other physics variants (which use Young and Freedman, or Halliday, Walker, Resnick, I believe). Yes, that's right, valedictorians and overachievers drop left and right out of this course, many citing the text as to abstract and difficult to follow. I understand that many other elite universities have similar classes that use this book with similar results.
Some people have very good things to say about this book. They are the ones who already have a good understanding of classical mechanics and are looking for a rigorous, challenging set of examples and problems. I have found this sort of person to be very much in the minority.
For the majority of people, who are looking to get an intuitive view of mechanics and how they apply to the modern world, I would suggest Halliday, Walker, and Resnick's Fundamentals of Physics instead of this book. But if you really want deep insight into the nature of mechanics (i.e. you're going to teach it someday), run--don't walk--to the bookstore and buy this book today.
On a side note, the E&M portion of the MIT advanced physics series uses Purcell's Electricity and Magnetism, Vol. II. My recommendation would be the same for this book as well: if you love physics and understand it well already, buy the book. Otherwise, avoid it like the plague.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I used this book for my Honors Physics- Mechanics course at UC Berkeley which I took my freshman year. I have never been more challenged intellectually in my entire life. This book covers mechanics at a remarkable depth for a lower division course and really gives you a great understanding of mechanics if you put the hundreds of hours into it which it requires. This is a must for any Physics major, especially one who wants to go on to Grad. School. Although, the book can be very intimidating, the key is to stick with it and be patient and eventually you'll really get it- it's a wonderful feeling. The hard work does pay off.
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