Back in early 1985, I was working in a university which was PC heaven. I knew nothing about computers until a salesman came to demonstrate a funny beige box with a tiny screen which, he said, would *soon* have a program called PageMaker running on it that we could use to produce publications, including my particular bete noir -- the university handbook (catalog).
To the horror of the PC jocks, I bought a suite of 4 "Fat Macs" and a LaserWriter for my office, and when PageMaker v.1 turned up I began setting up to produce the handbook. It was a steep learning curve. In the end, though, we made it.
I wish 'Publication Production using PageMaker ...' had been available then. Sure, the PageMaker manual was there, and it was good, but it focused on the program. Gordon Woolf's book is different -- it is a book about producing publications first ... and using PageMaker v.7, the current version and the one I now use, to do the job. The book you want to publish is the focus -- PageMaker is merely the tool.
And that's the point -- this is a book written by an old publishing pro about how to get the publishing job done. Gordon tells us he started desktop publishing when typewriters, monospaced type, physical paste-up and spirit duplicators were still the go. As computers developed and publishing programs appeared, so Gordon moved up the scale. His book follows the same path -- it assumes nothing except that you know how to click a mouse and tap on a keyboard, it focuses on the job, and it tells you how to do the job -- step by step.
The magic of this book, though, is that while it opens up a whole new world for publishing novices, it is also teaching lots of PageMaker (and general DTP) techniques.
I have been using PageMaker on a daily basis for longer than Gordon, I believe, but browsing through the book, I found lots of tips and tricks I have been able to incorporate into my workflow. I feel no shame at using Gordon's book to repair my deficiencies -- Gordon Woolf is a widely acknowledged PageMaker and DTP guru!
'Publication Production using PageMaker' is on my bookshelf and is in the "well thumbed" category!