Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 5 / MAY 1984 / PAGE 229

The word processing book: a short course in computer literacy. (book reviews) Stephen Gray.

The Word Processing Book:

A Short Course in Computer Literacy,

This is undoubtedly the only technical book with a backcover recommendation by William F. Buckley, Jr. ("This is a marvelous book--the first lucid account of what word processing is all about.') And a full-page ad for the author's books of poetry and a large assortment of antique etchings, including some by Dor[e for the "Inferno.'

Despite the frivolous look of the book (which is full of old drawings whose only relevance is that many feature a book, piece of paper, or antique typewriter), it goes a long way toward exploring the mysteries of word processing and dispelling the many fears that surround it.

The 14 chapters are divided into three parts: word processing computers and what they do (history, personal computers, word processing, spelling checkers); uses of word-processing computers (office, students, writers, the self-employed, and poets); and selecting and buying a WP computer (drawbacks of WP computers, is WP for you, selecting, buying guide, buying a WP computer)9 The book ends with a short item about how the book was produced, a long biography of the author, an ad for his books of poetry, and addresses of the manufacturers mentioned in the book.

The author writes well, is highly informative, and comes up with some fine analogies to help beginners, such as "A good analogy between ROM and RAM is the difference between a phonograph and a cassette type'; he goes on to explain that ROM data can't be changed, but RAM data can.

For a book dealing with a very modern, high-tech area, this one looks curiously antique, with a typeface that has a turn-of-the-century appearance, and dozens of old engravings, all on an eggshell paper that seems at least 50 years old.

But don't let any of that fool you. McWillias has written one of the best books available for anyone who needs an introductory text on word processing.

Review Grade: B+