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on 27 July 1997
This book is chock-full of errors. Some of them
are obvious; some of them are subtle. Many of
the examples cannot be compiled by anything even
similar to a C compiler. Many work only by
coincidence, or only on 80386 PC's running DOS
(not windows). The author refuses to correct
these errors.

The book does not cover "ANSI C" - it flatly
contradicts the ANSI/ISO standard on several

A list of a few errors may be found at

(It is far from complete; a cursory scan of the
first 150 pages found about 200 errors.)
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on 29 March 1999
Having come across Schild's book when starting out as a programmer I believed it to be one of the best I've read. In this respect it is very good for a beginner, but searching now for a reference manual (I've misplaced the misnomer: "C, A Complete Reference") as a more experienced programmer I realise this is really a tutorial.
Comparing it against other C reference books I now see the deficiencies. Schild's book tries to be all things to all men:
oOo Tutorial: A very chatty manner as it leads you through the workings of each area, I like the description of "make", albeit brief.
oOo Reference manual: It covers most of the C language, but there is incomplete coverage of the C language (eg errno, and bzero).
oOo Algorithm book: It describes the use of Artificial Intelligence, but this is such a huge area it only wets the appetite. A reader attracted by these areas would better off buying a book which concentrates on these areas specifically and in greater depth.
I was disappointed to discover the third edition of this book had the C++ overview removed. The new section, "a C interpreter", which I suspect is to pad out the book after removing the useful chapters from previous editions is practically useless. It would have been better to write something similar to Steel's coverage of writing 'clean C' where a C program runs in a C++ environment to distinguish the conflict areas between C and C++.
Another failing of Schild's book is the all too brief coverage of some areas summarised with the cop out "consult your manufacturer's manual for details".
In the format of a good reference book, Schild lays down many parts of the C language under function headings such as "signal". However, towards the end of each description is a section entitled "see related functions" with an incomplete list of references; for example under "signal" it is "raise", but missing "ssignal, psignal, gsignal". Instead of spreading descriptions around like this it would be easier to read if related functions were grouped under a similar heading, so the reader isn't distracted searching for them.
Schild's book has moved from discussing C in a DOS environment in his first edition to a Windows environment in the third edition. Although Schild does cover UNIX, the platform where C originated, he has skimmed the surface like a pebble across a pond.
In conclusion Schild's book is suitable as a tutorial for beginners but cannot be classed as a reference manual. I would recommend the following books instead:
Reference: C : A Reference Manual, Samuel P. Harbison, Guy L. Steele (September 1994), Prentice Hall; ISBN: 0133262243
Tutorial: C : A modern Approach, K.N. King, (April 1996), W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393969452
Algorithm: Algorithms in C : Fundamentals, Data Structures, Sorting, Searching Robert Sedgewick, 3rd edition (October 1997) Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0201314525
The Algorithm Design Manual, Steven S. Skiena, Steve Skiena (November 1997), Springer Verlag; ISBN: 0387948600
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on 13 May 1998
Herbert Schildt is an enthusiastic writer who can seduce the naive reader into believing anything, no matter how ridiculous. Do yourself a favor and get a recent edition of _C: A Reference Manual_ by Samuel Harbison and Guy Steele instead. Also, _The C Programming Language_ by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie. (For the sake of the newbies out there, I should mention that Dennis Ritchie invented the C language, which in itself is a recommendation, not to mention that the first edition of the book, published in 1978, served as the base document for the ANSI C standard). These two books are recommended by the comp.lang.c Usenet newsgroup's FAQ list---a reading of which, incidentally, could have prevented Schildt from committing many of the horrible errors in _C: The Complete Reference_. The naive errors in this book would be embarassing even in a programming assignment turned in by a computer science college sophomore.
The reviewers who gave this book a 10 have been sadly duped and don't even know it. These people owe it to themselves to get the Harbison and Steele reference manual, and read the Usenet FAQ about the C language, and to read Peter Seebach's partial review of Schildt's book whose URL has been mentioned at least twice in some other reviews here. Also, anyone who doubts the negative reviews should write an article to comp.lang.c with the subject ``Schildt'' and a blank body. That alone should incite a frivolous anti-Schildt flame thread that will last a good two weeks.
The Usenet culture has even coined a new epithet which is applied to a horribly wrong assertion (about a programming language) which is nonchalantly presented as fact: that term is ``bullschildt''. This will no doubt end up in the jargon file one day, thus immortalizing Herb's family name. That just goes to show you that you should be careful about what you publish!
I give this book a 2 only because I believe that the ranking of 1 should be reserved for works like _Learn C in 21 Days_, _C For Dummies_ or others of t! he same trash bin calibre.
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on 13 May 1997
Few books actually merit the scorn that this one
gets. Schildt, an observing member of the ANSI
committee, really ought to know better. His
friendly, glib style masks the numerous serious flaws as he attempts to explain the C language.
In reality, it is the "Schildt language", a dialect that only remotely resembles Standard C. This book is so bad as to have a web link devoted to its many faults:
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on 23 June 2013
To quote the vernacular (if a trifle dated) my man! Delivery on time content mind blowing and as always, that quality edge that Amazon strive to maintain. Keep it up guys and when the cheap skates try to edge in ....... well you know.There is cheap, and there is reasonably priced. They are not the same.
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on 5 March 1999
When I contact C, its this book that led me into the entrance of C programming. And I like its 1988 version more than the 1995/1998 version. I think the Dos-based graphic skill is important for anyone who want to lean more about the machnism of computer graphics
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on 7 September 2000
I already know C and can't say how much use it would be to someone learning it for the first time. BUT, when it says complete reference it really does mean complete. It covers things I've never even heard about before - explains them in a way that is understandable to everyone, including those of us who aren't gurus! The algorithms he supplies a a big bonus, they are well explained dispite being some of the more conceputally complex ones (qsort, AI based searches). The inclusion of of a C interpreter allows you to look at the language from another angle if you're brave enough.
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on 4 March 2016
Reference to C, it is an informative read, well worth the money
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on 29 September 1996
As a computer science major at UCO, I have spent a greatdeal of time in libraries, bookstores, and on the web looking for material on the C launguage to help me with my programming assignments. Schildt's book, C The Complete Reference 3e, is THE book I refer to most often. Schildt clearly explains topics such as: data structures, linked lists, stacks, queues, and gives code examples for virtually every keyword in the launguage! If you want to learn C or expand your knowledge of it, you MUST get this book!
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on 28 March 1997
This book is the best reference book for C programming language that i have found .
Its set up so that when you look something up it explains it , gives the basic
format for the usage , and includes simple examples of each.
its good for beginners , covers all c compilers . its a must have for writting c
programs , and learning c language .
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