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Anatomy of Lisp (McGraw-Hill computer science series) Hardcover – June, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0070011151 ISBN-10: 007001115X

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Product Details

  • Series: McGraw-Hill computer science series
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill College (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007001115X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070011151
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mayer Goldberg on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is not up to date, this book is out-of-print, but if you're a lisp or scheme hacker you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this book any [legal] way you can. This is by far the most intelligent book ever written on LISP.

The book starts with the basics of symbolic computing, and then moves on: a detailed analysis of syntax (without taking any shortcuts on sexprs), interpretation, [a hasty introduction to] the lambda calculus, denotational semantics (!), compilation and code generation, the top-level and the run-time environment, including garbage collection. Special emphasis is placed on imperative LISP. All this described in 446 pages of a single book. This book packs about 5-6 different university courses in a single volume! The level of the discussion is high, there are plenty of examples of real code, but thankfully the author avoids many of the pitfalls of later books on Scheme and functional programming: (1) He doesn't employ the "running example" approach to writing computer books: Each example is small, very focused, and the discussion remains academic. (2) Formalisms are explained in quasi-mathematical lambda-notation, rather than by dumping source code on the poor reader.

This is a very rich source. The book discusses issues that other authors typically punt: labels and goto, side effects on constants (this is the ONLY book that mentions a problem known as The Anomaly of Quote), etc.

This is an old book, and it does not mention hygienic macro systems, continuations, object orientation, and other more recent topics. Nevertheless, while there are some awesome books written on LISP and Scheme, the Anatomy of LISP is by a far stretch the best written and most intelligently written.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book about the essense of LISP, functional programming, and interpreters.
The author takes the reader through a journey of discovery of the concepts behind functional languages, working his way from atoms, to S-expressions, to lists, to lambda calculus and functions, and then to environments, early and lazy evaluation, and, finally, into the construction of a LISP interpreter using LISP itself.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the fundamental concepts behind computing and programming.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book about the essense of LISP, functional programming, and interpreters.
The author takes the reader through a journey of discovery of the concepts behind functional languages, working his way from atoms, to S-expressions, to lists, to lambda calculus and functions, and then to environments, early and lazy evaluation, and, finally, into the construction of a LISP interpreter using LISP itself.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the fundamental concepts behind computing and programming.
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