- Spiral-bound: 496 pages
- Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 11, 1984)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201134489
- ISBN-13: 978-0201134483
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The TeXbook 1st Edition
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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.
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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
I readily stand by my four star rating: it teaches the reader about primitives, units, etc. However, one may ask "Who starts a new page with \vfill\eject when \newpage is way to go now?" However, if you want to know the answer to the follow-up question "Why is \newpage the way to go now?", then this book is for you.
This is not for someone looking to learn how to typeset in LaTeX (as of this writing, the current standard). It is intended for someone who wants a better understanding of the foundations of 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!
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.