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Customer Review

on November 25, 1999
The reviews of this book are just hilarious; I've never seen a book with reviews so sharply polarized between one and five stars. I think the reason for this is that most of the one-star reviewers had this book rammed down their throats in an introductory CS course, and it blew their minds. This doesn't surprise me; despite the fact that the book is meant to be an introduction to computer science, for most students it will be just too abstract and too difficult. I've been programming for over ten years, and I had to work really hard to understand a lot of the concepts presented here. Nevertheless, I think this is a great book because it discusses lots of ideas that receive inadequate or no coverage elsewhere. The material on compilers, for instance, is difficult (and idiosyncratic because they're compiling scheme, which has its own pecularities compared to, say, compiling C) but if you can work through it you get a pretty deep understanding of what's going on, without having to get bogged down in parsing or other trivial stuff. My suggestion: DO NOT read this book if you are just learning how to program; come back to it after a few years of experience and it will stretch your mind. Also, if you're having trouble I recommend Harvey and Wright's "Simply Scheme" as a much gentler introduction to the same material.
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