First, the book relates information about Unix's origins at Bell Labs and its subsequent free distribution among academic sites. The text provides an overview of the various vendors that shaped Unix (at least, those vendors that were a big deal in the late 1980s) and a guide to Unix documentation (mainly in the form of books and journals). Then, the authors approach Unix from three points of view: those of the user, the programmer, and the administrator. For each point of view, the authors point out useful commands and write extensively on the best ways to use them.
This book shows its age--it was written in 1989--in its chapters about Unix's "present" status and about networking. The information about Usenet is dated, and there's no mention of Solaris or the relative merits of Unix and Windows NT. Still, these shortcomings don't overshadow the book's strengths, which make Life with Unix: A Guide for Everyone a good side dish for any strong Unix reference. --David Wall