21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The best one-volume overview of Computer Science,
By A Customer
This review is from: Computer Science: An Overview (Paperback)I agree completely with the reader from Colorado. This is a great book.
I picked it up on impulse when purchasing a textbook for a computer architecture course at university. Usually when I buy a book on impulse, I regret it. Not this time. This is the best one-volume coverage of computer science I've seen.
The book is written as an "overview", but anyone who reads it thoroughly will come away with quite a sophisticated understanding of the fundamentals of computing. It covers basically everything -- starting with simple concepts like binary and working all the way through to artificial intelligence and other advanced ideas. It covers databases, programming, hardware, networking, and everything else. I can't think of an important topic in computer science that has been left out of this book.
I also agree with the reader from Colorado that the writing is dense in places, but that is only because there is no unnecessary fluff. You may have to re-read a paragraph here and there, but if you do, you are almost guaranteed to understand the concepts presented. This is not a "Dummies Guide to Computer Science". It's a book for intelligent, interested students. As a result, the author does not talk down to the reader at all. His writing tone is very professional and matter-of-fact throughout. (The diagrams are also excellent, and complement the text very well.)
As a bonus, there are "review" questions at the end of every section, and clear, well explained answers at the end of the book. I admit I haven't been doing all the exercises, but I have skimmed over some, and I am sure that anyone who does the exercises for each section will come away with a very solid understanding of the subject.
If you want a broad understanding of what computer science is about, and how all the different topics interrelate, I highly recommend this book. If you're new to computer science (especially if you are just starting a university course), this will help you. Even if you are graduating with a computer science degree, this will help you to integrate what you have learned, and will help you see the forest as well as the trees.
This book is in its fifth edition for a reason: It's very good.