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The TeXbook Spiral-bound – January 11, 1984

ISBN-13: 078-5342134483 ISBN-10: 0201134489 Edition: 1st

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The TeXbook + LaTeX: A Document Preparation System (2nd Edition) + The LaTeX Companion (Tools and Techniques for Computer Typesetting)
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 11, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201134489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201134483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Here is the definitive guide to the use of TeX, written by the system's creator, Donald E. Knuth.

TeX represents the state of the art in computer typesetting. It is particularly valuable where the document, article, or book to be produced contains a lot of mathematics, and where the user is concerned about typographic quality. TeX software offers both writers and publishers the opportunity to produce technical text of all kinds, in an attractive form, with the speed and efficiency of a computer system.

Novice and expert users alike will gain from The TeXbook the level of information they seek. Knuth warns newcomers away from the more difficult areas, while he entices experienced users with new challenges. The novice need not learn much about TeX to prepare a simple manuscript with it. But for the preparation of more complex documents, The TeXbook contains all the detail required.

Knuth's familiar wit, and illustrations specially drawn by Duane Bibby, add a light touch to an unusually readable software manual.

The TeXbook is the first in a five-volume series on Computers and Typesetting , all authored by Knuth.

0201134489B04262002

About the Author

Donald E. Knuth is known throughout the world for his pioneering work on algorithms and programming techniques, for his invention of the Tex and Metafont systems for computer typesetting, and for his prolific and influential writing. Professor Emeritus of The Art of Computer Programming at Stanford University, he currently devotes full time to the completion of these fascicles and the seven volumes to which they belong.



Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 1, 2002
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I bought the TeXbook two years ago, but finally spent a few days reading it cover to cover -- and I am impressed. As many others, I started exploring plain TeX because I wanted more from LaTeX. I was surprised to find how simple and, yes, *elegant* TeX is in comparison. I guess TeX is to LaTeX as C is to C++. Certainly do not buy this book if you just want to use LaTeX!
The writing is superb, full of fine detail and more than a few clever jokes. Why can't recent books about modern systems be so delightful? Maybe David Pogue's Missing Manual series comes close, but the topics are not quite as technical.
As a reference, the TeXbook is weak because each command or concept is scattered across so many places: one introductory chapter, one summary chapter, in exercises, in "dangerous bend" passages, and so on. I believe the book is best organized for front to back reading, although probably in two or three passes if you include the dangerous bends. For reference, I prefer TeX by Topic by Victor Eijkhout. It is out of print, but available for download on his web site.
The paperback edition of the TeXbook is spiral bound. I appreciate that it lays flat, but the back pages are always falling out of the binding!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1997
Format: Spiral-bound
While I have to give this book a 10, it is only fair to mention that there are many who find it impossible to read. Knuth wrote three books simultaneously: a guide to TeX for the nontechnical (typesetters, academic department secretaries), for the technical (computer scientists, mathematicians), and for the expert (Knuth himself).

II you are coming to this book for the first time, follow Knuth's advice and ignore the "dangerous bends."

Knuth is one of the world's leading computer scientists and TeX is his most famous program. It is extremely rare for a programmer at Knuth's level to write the documentation -- and rarer still for him to succeed.

However, after you've read this book, and before you decide that you know everything there is to know about design and typography, please read "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Adam Baker on June 28, 2005
Format: Spiral-bound
I'm feeling kind of stupid that I spent time reading other books about TeX. I assumed that this one would be incomprehensible, but nothing is further from the truth. It's readable, yet precise. The exercises are helpful. The jokes really are funny, and not distracting. It's amazing that computer science's most brilliant mind is also it's most brilliant writer (that I have run across, anyway).

I agree with the one reviewer that the organzation is imperfect. But, I can't say I've found a book about TeX that does a better job.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Fabrice P. Laussy on August 3, 1999
Format: Spiral-bound
LaTeX that most peoples prefer to TeX is useful for reams of technical paper where quality doesn't matter (reports, notes, thesis), but without turning to a professional typesetter, you cannot attain good results without a serious commitment to the study of TeX.
The TeXbook is what you need for this purpose. If you do not intend to go beyond the dangerous bend, you may find LaTeX more suited to your needs.
Secondary, it can serves as a model for writers of technical books, with its index, clarity and organization (Knuth's style put apart, of course--for this one being sometime excessive, I would rate this book only 4.9/5)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Hon on October 31, 2013
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
Don Knuth has a reputation for being a perfectionist, and after you read The TeXBook, you will see why. Every chapter is filled with examples and reasons why certain things are done a certain way in TeX. After you read it, you'll be a TeX-pert! har har.

If you simply want to learn TeX, this is probably not the book for you, but if you're interested in the nuts and bolts of the TeX system, how Knuth tackled some of the problems with early typesetting, and more of the nitty gritty, then you'll love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Morrison on July 6, 2006
Format: Spiral-bound
If you really want to know TeX, this is the book to have. However, if you are a complete beginner, I'd recommend you first look at Michael Doob's A Gentle Introduction to Tex. It will get you off to a running start and prepare you to profitably read Knuth's book.

If you are fairly sophisticated, you can learn TeX from scratch reading this book. I managed this, whilst at the same time mastering the vagaries of UNIX running on a vax and taking the (old version) of the vi bull by the horns. It was difficult. But you won't likely be facing the daunting technological obstacles I described today.

Dump that hapless Word equation editor and become a TeXpert. Happy TeXing!
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By Amazon Customer on September 27, 2010
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This is a must have if you are a serious TeX/LaTeX user. Knuth, the creator of TeX, discusses the concepts (eg. boxes and glue) and algorithms (line breaking, page breaking, spacing in equations) underlying the program and discusses tips, tricks and pitfalls.

Even if you have no wish to poke into TeX's internals, the TeXbook is worth reading as a masterpiece of technical writing. Knuth asks you to solve exercises and tackle difficult passages marked with "dangerous bend" signs. He rewards you with witty epigraphs and in-jokes. (Regarding the pronunciation of TeX: "When you say it correctly to your computer, the terminal may become slightly moist"). Realizing how much thought Knuth has put into the design of TeX will make it harder for you to cut corners the next time you start a creative project. Among programming books I have read, only K&R has helped me more in improving myself intellectually.
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