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Absolute Beginner's Guide to C (2nd Edition) 2nd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2063051009
ISBN-10: 0672305100
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

For beginning programmers, this updated edition answers all C programming questions. This bestseller talks to readers at their level, explaining every aspect of how to get started and learn the C language quickly. Readers also find out where to learn more about C.

This book includes tear-out reference card of C functions and statements, a hierarchy chart, and other valuable information. It uses special icons, notes, clues, warnings, and rewards to make understanding easier. And the clear and friendly style presumes no programming knowledge.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 2 edition (April 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672305100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672305108
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
All right my name is Troy and im 14 years old. I start off with saying that this is the best book to buy if have never even programmed before. This book gives you the best start you can get..Dont buy books like "C for dumbies" by googin or whatever his name is. I seriously reccomend this book. It starts of with standard I/o like printf() and scanf() et cetera...THen goes on to teach you data structers, loops, heap memory, intermediate i/o, and making your own functions. It teaches you how to organize your code and make it more easier to read. The writer puts everything in a CLEAR easy to read way, unlike other books that explain things in a very difficult manner and don't put much depth into it or make jokes to get the point through like your stupid. After this book I reccomend "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie. Buy this book and you won't regret it...Thats a fact. Just don't think that your a master at C after you read it. Practice will make you a better programmer.!
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Format: Paperback
Just wanted to add my name to the list of highly satisfied purchasers of this book. This is an excellent programming book for beginners, even if you have never programmed before. I originally started out with K&R C, but it was just too dry. Perry's book gives you the basics and the confidence to move on to more advanced books (like K&R C, Pointer on C, etc).
The only downside to the book is that there are no "problems" to work out. (Sure you can put his code in and watch it run--but where is the problem-solving in that?) However, there are numerous Computer Science Departments out there that do post their course work problems on the Net which can be easily downloaded and printed. Although, few also post the answers, so...good luck :)
Watch out for the chapters on getchar() and getch(). getch() only gets a page or two of explanation and leaves a hapless beginner to founder. K&R C did help here at this point, takes some hacking away at it, but it comes eventually. (Or maybe it will come really quickly and you'll think, that tripped him up? What a geek!)
Lastly, don't waste your hard-earned cash on a fancy-smancy C compiler. There are lots of good (and free) C compilers out there (GNU's gcc, borland DOS-based from [...] etc). Pick one, spend some time learning the switches and optimizations on it and then get to coding.
From there on out it is just code, code and code. And then debug...and debug...and debug...cry...and debug...
After this book I recommend cutting your teeth on K&R C (there's a reason they call it the C Bible). You can easily see the basics you picked up with Perry in K&R. It was a big help for me when I could see something familiar in the concepts and was able trudge on through.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finally bought this book after reading the reviews for the last year. I gave it to my Linux Administrator and told him to read it as an assignment. He called after a couple of hours into it and said he couldn't put it down and that it was the best computer book he had ever read. He also mentioned that he had tried to learn C from other books and did not get anywhere. Similar story to many of the other stories...
I went a head and ordered another one for me and have read several chapters. I must agree that after trying to learn programming from Beginner Python books and PHP books that this whole programming thing started to fall into place. The author really does do a good job at explaining things. The reviews are accurate...and not staged like I thought they may be.
I also ordered a 3rd book for a 13-year-old boy who wants to learn how to be a web programmer with PHP and MySQL. I am starting him off with this book first because it will give him the foundation he needs to move into PHP and other languages.
I wish other books were written this well. The author is an excellent teacher. Go ahead and get it. You'll be glad you did.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me first say that this book is by no means bad. It makes C as simple (I would bold "simple" if I could) as possible, breaks the topics up into bite sized chunks based on topics, warns you about common mistakes, and provides the code for a lengthy blackjack program at the end for your personal dissection and analysis. My main problem with the book is that it does not provide problems for you to solve. It just explains the language. If you couple it with a book that includes a large number of problems, then you're all set.

That being said there are better (and cheaper) alternatives out there. Probably the best method of learning C is to subscribe to Harvard's CS 50 podcast. The RSS feed can be found at [...] , or you can search for "Harvard Computer Science 50" within the itunes store and subscribe to it from there. The podcast includes separate video and audio tracks from lectures conducted by the courses' instructor, David J. Malan. The podcast also provides PDF's of the problem sets along with copies of the class's quizzes and answers. The best part is that you can get this all for free. The course filmed is fall 2007 I believe, so all of the lectures are up (meaning that you don't have to wait for them, go ahead and download them all). The first few episodes from week 0 are a bit slow, but the course quickly picks up speed after that. If you want to get right into C, then I recommend that you start at week 1 (Week 0 is spent going over the basic workings of computer hardware components and some time is spent on a program called "Scratch").

Another good, free place to start is the online tutorial found at


Reading, problem sets, and solutions to the problem sets are provided.
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