Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition
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This is a challenging book for the true beginner, although not an impossible read. It took me about six months of reading the book and doing nearly every exercise before I felt that I had a fundamental grasp on C++ programming. If this book is a companion to a class, it might take you less time, but be prepared to spend a few months with it, especially if you are a truly new to programming. Just doing the exercises will take you many weeks, but the beauty of this book is that it is extensive and covers almost everything you need to know about C++ programming. It is not a reference library, but after reading this book there won't be much about C++ you don't know (or at least won't know how to find out) and that, to me, is the hallmark of a good text. Stroustrup guides you through things like template functions and memory allocation, shows you how certain containers are created (lists and vectors), covers much of the standard template library (STL), classes, object oriented programming...really, it is a solid foundation for the C++ programmer and programming in general. There are a few caveats; I don't think operator-overloading is explained in enough depth, for one. But this is truly an extensive subject and it's incredible how much the man is able to cover. This book sits somewhere above a beginners book that doesn't go into enough detail, and somewhere below a pure reference manual that doesn't tell you how to do anything. I haven't read his other C++ book - The C++ Programming Language - but I imagine that book and this are probably about all you will ever need when it comes to C++.
Despite its flaws, I have rated it 5 stars, as recently I have begun to see just how poorly books like this can be written - this book blows them away. It has enabled me to program a VST plugin relatively easily. There's even some subtle nerdy humor in it. It accomplishes its task beautifully.
This is not actually a book that explains just an abstract programming language or that explains the concepts of computer programming without concrete examples: it is rather a book that blends in very well these two aspects.
Stroustrup also wrote a book, The C++ Programming Language, 4th Edition, about the C++ language only, but it is a book more concise (but not shorter!) which takes for granted that you already know a lot about programming language.
I recommend you read first "Programming" and only then go to "The C++ Programming Language"... if you are not still satisfied then you can go directly to read the C++ ISO standard but at that point you are alone with your compiler.
One disappointment for me was that I purchased the kindle version of the book, which does not contain page numbers. Although this would be fine for someone who is self-teaching, it made it difficult to follow along in a classroom setting. For example, teacher says "turn to this page and type up the example from the book", and I would spend a good 5 minutes just looking for the page that everyone with print version of book found in seconds. Just something to keep in mind if you are considering buying the kindle version.
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