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The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) [Paperback]

Brian W. Kernighan , Dennis Ritchie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
RRP: 42.99
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Book Description

22 Mar 1988 0131103628 978-0131103627 2

This second editon describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. The book assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. A novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (22 Mar 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131103628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131103627
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 17.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Just about every C programmer I respect learned C from this book. Unlike many of the 1,000 page doorstops stuffed with CD-ROMs that have become popular, this volume is concise and powerful (if somewhat dangerous)--like C itself. And it was written by Kernighan himself. Need we say more? --Amazon.com

From the Back Cover

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.

From the Preface:

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

As we said in the first preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and use it well.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A programming classic 10 Sep 1998
By A Customer
If you read a lot of computer books, you can easily tell the good ones: they are frequently cited. Well, this book is frequently cited. You even find references to it in computer books that have nothing to do with C programming. That fact should tell you something.
I learned C from this book, and I have to agree with the authors that cite it--it's a good book. I have yet to see its equal for brevity, elegance, and completeness in teaching C programming. If you are a programmer who wants to learn C, then ignore the rest and read the best.
One warning though--this is not a book for beginners. As Kernighan and Ritchie say in the preface: "The book is not an introductory programming manual; it assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. Nonetheless, a novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language, although access to a more knowledgeable colleague will help." If you are a complete novice, heed their warning. If you don't have access to a more knowledgeable colleague, you will probably be better off selecting an easier book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book required by every C programmer 28 May 1999
By A Customer
This book is the best book a serious C programmer can ever buy. The books that you get these days like learn in 24 hours or a week, are big fat, look good, teach a lot of graphics, but lack in true C content. But this one, is life time reference. Initially I found it disappointing, because it did not cover graphics, low level assembly. But as I began serious programming in C, I found this to be a life time reference. Any doubts, debates, .. go to this book. The authors also give a reference manual, if you do not want to read the book again. The exercises are challanging and very very creative. An expert should have this book and a beginner who buys this, is on his way to becoming an expert.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 24 Jan 2003
It is difficult to avoid cliches when talking about this book - it is just so good, that one can't help heaping superlatives on it.
This book is affectionately known as 'K & R', after the names of the authors, and it is almost definitely the most widely respected of all books on any given programming language.
This is the book that introduced the 'Hello World!' program to the world :-), which is now practically a standard first program in any introductory book on any programming language.
This is straight from the creators, and the implied authority, while an excellent reason in itself for taking a look at the book, pales in comparison to its other merits - brevity & clarity being foremost.
This book is best appreciated if you already have some programming background - i say this from experience, since i knew Fortran 77 & Pascal before i learnt C, and the knowledge of Pascal, in particular,made it much easier for me to pick up C than classmates for whom it was the first programming language.
Of course, if you're new to programming, you could still try learning from this, but it might be a bit of a struggle. If so, the books by Kelley & Pohl, K.N.King or Gottfried(Schaum series) may be useful for 'getting upto speed' with C first, and then coming to K & R.
C is the one language which is both 'high level' and 'low level' at the same time - to date, it is the nearest to the ideal of a programming language that is easy enough in description to be followed by human readers, and at the same time close enough to the machine's language to be executed fast.There are faster languages, to be sure - assembly language is necessarily faster than any high level language. But just try coding a reasonably involved program in assembly, or even reading such an effort !
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quite marvellous book 23 Feb 2000
This book is a presentation of the C language so it won't:
* tell you how to design programs;
* tell you how to write concise, clear code;
* give you any detailed discussion on algorithms;
* tell you how to write C code that does job X (unless you particularly want a reverse Polish logic calculator).
It will however give you a thorough understanding of the C language and it's possibilities.
In terms of structure there's an introductory chapter which gets you started with "Hello, world!" and then a chapter for each major chunk of the language with some exercises at the end of each chapter. The exercises give you practice in using those aspects of the language you've been reading about. (Incidentally if you work through all the exercises properly not only will you have a very good understanding of the language you'll also end up with a very useful code library.)
Because the authors chose to focus on the language and weren't distracted from that, the book's style is concise but never at the expense of clarity (something everyone who's reviewed the book so far has remarked on). What you tend to get therefore is a description of a language feature (structures, say), a code fragment or two to illustrate the point and then a lengthier example to show how the feature could be used in a more extensive program.
The book's was a joy to read, is a pleasure to go back to and a relief to carry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very good in condition
On time, very good in condition. I would say it is not for complete beginners. You need to have some prior knowledge of programming terminology.
Published 15 days ago by M Kashif
1.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Picture
What is being sold here is an Indian edition (legally only allowed to be sold in India and environs) and has an unpleasant green cover, it is certainly not the book in the picture. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. N. J. Pettefar
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough introduction (and reference) to the C programming language
This is, as of 2014, over 25 years old (and over 35 years old if you count its first edition), but there is still no better reference guide to C than this book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Leigh
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for c
So I began learning c at uni and was struggling after coming from Java . However, this book is just golden. It explains it so simply and easily that you can't not learn c after it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SJ
2.0 out of 5 stars Its very old school - which is not necessarily bad
I should of known better. Been coding for years, this is coding utilizing as much cleverness in one line of code as you can.

Thats the old school way. Read more
Published 4 months ago by MrTortoise
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
This a good book, now I understand the C programming more. I do recommend this book for students who doing programming.
Published 4 months ago by Hana
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive
If you want to lean C, this is the book to buy... period! I found it easy to study and it has a comprehensive reference section. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jeff Frandsen
5.0 out of 5 stars *The* definitive guide to C.
Quality: Some markings in pencil and some highlightings in yellow pen, they seem to stop halfway through the book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Wittler
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
This is a classic C text. I received a student edition from India with gummed stickers on front and back cover to make it clear that this was the budget edition. Read more
Published 6 months ago by T. N. F. LYNCH
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute must for C programmers
The original book by the people who wrote the language. If you want to understand the language, especially the way you should think about using it, then you must read this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by rascallybear
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