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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Check also Jose & Saletan
I read the first printing of the third edition.
Cons first.
Some material has been deleted: the discussions of stability, some historical notes along the discussions, correspondence between HJ and Schrodinger Eqn, etc. The nice further references and notes to various other books in the end of each chapter has been omitted, the same thing happen to the extensive...
Published on October 9, 2002

versus
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once a great textbook
This book is great for learning the topic for the first time, and even better once you're looking for a good reference at a later time. It goes very deeply into the physics and philosophy of classical mechanics. The only background needed is vector calculus. The rest should flow naturally. If you don't understand everything on the first read, as some reviewers mentioned,...
Published on March 1, 2009 by LB


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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Check also Jose & Saletan, October 9, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
I read the first printing of the third edition.
Cons first.
Some material has been deleted: the discussions of stability, some historical notes along the discussions, correspondence between HJ and Schrodinger Eqn, etc. The nice further references and notes to various other books in the end of each chapter has been omitted, the same thing happen to the extensive bibliography. A lot of typos appear in this new edition. And still no attempts to include advanced mathematical methods from differential geometry, except when discussing SR. Also, no attempt to include some worked examples. The discussions on classical fields has been shortened, a regret if we remember the need to leard classical fields before step into quantum fields.
Pros.
The book became more accessible, in fact some undergrads might be able to cope with this, either after Marion-Thornton or somewhere in the junior-senior year. The discussions on SR use the standard -2 metric instead of the awkward ict. Several discussions on one-forms and GR appeared. More problems. Also there is a new chapter in nonlinear oscillations
Suggestions.
If you want a modern book on classical mechanics check also J.V. Jose and E.J. Saletan, Classical Dynamics: A Contemporary Approach ... it offers roughly the same material PLUS advanced treatment with geometrical methods and differential geometry, and there are extensive discussions on nonlinear dynamics and classical fields. I recommend some instructors to adapt Jose & Saletan for their class, since it is cheaper, more modern, than Goldstein.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once a great textbook, March 1, 2009
By 
LB (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
This book is great for learning the topic for the first time, and even better once you're looking for a good reference at a later time. It goes very deeply into the physics and philosophy of classical mechanics. The only background needed is vector calculus. The rest should flow naturally. If you don't understand everything on the first read, as some reviewers mentioned, this is not really a problem. This often happens with advanced textbooks, the authors know so much that they can't help but write discussions that are of a more general nature. In the case of Goldstein, you should be able to keep on reading without getting lost. This book is amazing, it covers point-particle physics up to continuum mechanics, and builds everything up to a point where you can go on a and study relativity and quantum mechanics with good confidence.

I would give this book 6 stars if I could. However, the 3rd edition has turned what used to be an excellent book into some kind of butchery and orgy or less relevant topics. For example, very few people doing research actually care about chaos theory, aside from its coolness. While I learned this stuff from a mathematically rigorous standpoint decades ago, I never got to use it since then. Also I find it difficult to discuss chaos theory when stochastic processes are ignored. When doing experiments, you always deal with noise which will actually bury a lot of the interesting dynamics. I really don't see the point of altering Goldstein to cover chaos theory when several excellent textbooks on the topic already exist (Arnold, Devaney, Scheinermann).

I bought the 3rd edition without knowing about its new slant. At the very least, they should have kept what was in the 2nd edition. Instead, they deleted entire sections which I used to love, such as the derivation of the Lagrangian density for an acoustic field (Appendix E). It's totally gone! I am no longer using the 3rd edition copy, and would consider selling it or getting rid of it. I am much better off with my 2nd edition copy.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good upper division textbook on mechanics, November 30, 2004
By 
Jill Malter (jillmalter@aol.com) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
This is an excellent way to learn classical mechanics. Actually, I prefer Landau's book. But Landau's book is about 170 pages and this one is about 650 pages.

And you get much more material with this book. The book is readable, and there are plenty of useful exercises. You start off with Lagrange's equations. Then you learn a little about the calculus of variations. And then the central force problem, kinematics of rigid body motion, and oscillations. And there's material on Hamilton's equations, canonical transformations, and Hamilton-Jacobi theory. In this manner, the text covers in 420 pages what Landau does in 170. There are more explanations and more examples. It's not a bad way to learn the subject.

In addition, there are chapters on special relativity, chaos, canonical perturbation theory, and continuous systems and fields. These are good topics to cover in a upper division class on mechanics. This book has a lot to offer a student and would be fun to teach from.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good contents but can be written clearer, December 20, 2006
By 
This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
I gave this book a 4-star because some parts of it are in fact not so clearly written, as some of the previous reviewers have pointed out. Yet it is probably the only book out there that explains classical mechanics at the level of sophistication and comprehensiveness suitable for an advanced physics student. This book is aimed at the graduate audience but in my opinion any undergraduate students with a solid introductory mechanics course should have no problem understanding most of the materials in this book though I have to admit that the authors did not do a very good job in explaining the concepts.

A distinct feature of this book is that it tries to teach classical mechanics in a way that illuminates many analogous approaches in quantum theory. By this I mean the theoretical constructions such as the Hamilton-Jacobi theory, Poisson brackets, canonical perturbation theory, relativistic field theory, and so on. This book is probably a must read for beginners of theoretical physics because some of the theoretical methods exploited here appear almost ubiquitously in other fields of physics. In the study of other subjects of physics, I was often reminded of the little bits of things I picked up from this book: variational principles, tensors and forms, symmetry groups, field theoretical ideas, etc.

Of course, the main goal of this book is to introduce the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics. The book is actually strong in this aspect. The first few chapters I think are very well written, especially the chapter on central force which is the most thorough treatment I have seen. There are things one hardly sees in other books of this type, such as the Lenz vector which would find a beautiful use in the quantum Kepler problem. However, the book tends to lose clarity in the latter chapters. The three chapters on Hamiltonian mechanics can be much better written. The chapter on chaos serves as nothing but a really rough introduction. Readers interested in these areas will probably benefit better by looking at other books written exclusively on Hamiltonian dynamics or chaos.

After all this is a good book mostly because I haven't yet found any other book at this level that does a better job. If one finds it difficult to read I would suggest getting the book by Marion and Thornton which contains many step-by-step derivations and tons of examples and in my opinion serves as a great companion to this book. Another book at almost the same level is the legendary book by Landau which is extremely concise and get-to-the-point. So some people may like Landau's style better. However, in my opinion, no other books can really replace this one as a comprehensive treatment of classical mechanics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, somewhat old-fashioned, January 27, 2008
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This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
This is one of the most common books used in advanced undergraduate classes in mechanics. It covers the fundamentals of the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism, and many applications are analyzed in great depth. The book is written very carefully, and is full of insightful comments along the way. Due to this reason, the book may look a bit heavy for some readers, but time-conscious readers should be aware of the fact that many of these comments can be skipped without damage. On the other hand, those who do read all the comments learn a lot.

Unfortunately, the book is a little bit old-fashioned (the first version of the book was conceived in the late 1940s), and I believe some of the comments and lines of reasoning would be written a bit differently today. For example, the book gives the impression that Newton's laws are more fundamental than the action principle, while it is more useful to think the other way around. The presentation of field theory in the last chapter is brief and somewhat cumbersome. Nowadays, that field theory is a standard tool of modern physics (it is essential for elementary particle physics and very useful in condensed matter physics), I would prefer a book that puts more emphasis on field theory and its various applications.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars quality of construction material is poor, December 29, 2013
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This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
I'm giving this one star (really should be zero) because of the print quality of the book. Other people have reviewed the subject matter content. This review is entirely with regard to the print quality.

I ordered a hardback copy of this book, and that's what I got. However, the paper is newspaper quality. By newspaper quality I mean the type of paper that newspapers are printed on, which is a rough gray or tan low poundage paper. My university's bookstore sells copies with standard quality, acid free paper. I have no idea why the version sold by Amazon is lower quality.

The paper is extremely rough. This roughness, unfortunately, makes the printing blurry compared with laser printed books, and especially blurry with some of the images which are barely readable. If you're looking to buy this book, then you are no stranger to books. You know what a physics book should feel like. When I flip through the pages of this book I find myself turning the pages very slowly because it feels like they will rip apart if I'm not too careful. The paper quality is really that bad.

My suggestion is that you buy this particular book from your university's book store.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many errors, December 21, 2010
By 
Matthew Coleman (fairfield, ct USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
I know Goldstein is considered a classic, but I've found a number of errors, and I don't mean typos. A few times, they'll take a statement of the form P=>Q and conclude that if Q, then P. (First instance on p 3... I've seen this in Marion, as well) and their treatment of the variation of the integral J is just wrong.

Okay, there's a lot of very good stuff in here, but if you're a first time reader and, especially, if you lack confidence, I'd turn elsewhere.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Mechanics, December 20, 2005
By 
This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
Goldsteins Classical Mechanics is a standard reference in intermediate theoretical physics, suitable for second year theoretical, and third year experimental physics. Its contents include material beyond the scope of two periods, but most of the material can be covered during this time.

Classical mechanics is a mathematically modest treatment of mechanics, and the most advanced topic included is calculus of variation. However, most topics are given a rigorous treatment, and when this is not available a reference is given. Examples are somewhat sparse in the book as this is not a solution manual but a treatment of physical theory. However, working out exercises is essential for understanding the text and this is for many a turning-point, the exercises are not easy and do not simplify like problems of basic courses. But for those who work a great award awaits.

The last chapter of the book is an introduction to Chaos, with emphasis on aplication. For a more rigourous treatment differential geometry, the language of mechanics, and algebra is needed. However, it is clear that this would take the book beyond an introduction to mechanics, which it only is.

For those who have motivation and a good lecturer with notes to support the book, such as more examples, Goldsteins Classical mechanics is excellent. A note should be made, the book is probably too hard for sensible self-study, conversation and insight of others is invaluable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a better spoken author, April 11, 2013
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This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
Goldstein knew everything that had to be told. And he told it all. In one breath. Without organizing his thoughts.

After using other books to go over the same topics, I realized that the reason I struggled at times in my mechanics class wasn't because of difficulty of content. It was because Goldstein rambled on and on in seemingly random paths. He would start a topic under one label, diverge to talk about his childhood Winters in Aspen(exageration) then ultimately come to a point. After you reread it four or five times, you could see his path of thought.

As an individual who thoroughly knows the content now, I still get lost reading this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable, February 1, 2011
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This review is from: Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
I found this to be one of the most readable textbooks during my graduate tenure. For the most part concepts are well laid out, and explained pretty well. You'll need to piece some things together on your own, but it's one of the better physics textbooks!
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Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition)
Classical Mechanics (3rd Edition) by Charles P. Poole Jr. (Hardcover - June 25, 2001)
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