A guide to programming the IBM Personal Computer. (book reviews) Susan Glinert-Cole.
The drawback to on-screen tutorials of the Basic Primer type is that to a certain extent, you have to follow the lesson plan. Some people would rather learn concepts in a less prescribed manner. A Guide to Programming the IBM Personal Computer by Bruce Presley, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold, is one of the best books of its type I have seen. I lent another Basic book to a friend who had just bought a PC, and he gave up on it after a few pages. I had used that particular book myself, and we had the same feeling about it: it kept telling you to do things, but it never explained why you were doing them.
Presley's book overcomes this objection quite well. His presentation is very clear and is augmented by copious examples and problems (with the answers in the back). The book is well laid out graphically with large type and generous spaces on the page which makes it easy to read from a distance. It is pretty dry reading; this is not one of the chatty or humorous computer texts.
I have noticed, and Presley's book is a good example, that nobody numbers pages in computer books from start to finish anymore. The fashion these days is to number each chapter separately and then have a little retinue of appendices, all with their own page numbers, troting after the main text. When I want to find out how many pages there are in a book, I don't want to have to get a calculator and add up all the separate section numbers. I am beginning to suspect that word processors can't count past 32.
Review Grade: B