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on 11 November 2009
As an introduction to the basics of string theory, this is not too bad. It handles the bosonic string well, and makes a decent stab at motivating supersymmetry. However, there are some flaws. First, it is full of typos, which is not good in an elementary book for beginners. Second, the crucial Virasoro algebra is skirted around rather than confronted head on. Now, I know this is quite a subtle piece of physics, but it is vital for determining which states are physical and setting the dimension of space-time in which the theory is consistent. Just pulling it out of a hat, as here, with no motivation will just not do.

World-sheet supersymmetry is quite well done (see above), though again the lack of a rigorous discussion of the super Virasoro algebra hampers understanding. The transition to space-time supersymmetry and manifest supersymmetry is bodged. Worse still, the crucial introduction of gauge fields and heterotic string theory is very weak and rather confusing.

Finally, the last few chapters (from that on the heterotic strong onward) are poor. I am thinking especially of the one on black holes where some genuinely exciting physics is marred by a sketchy approach. If explaining where all the formulae came from was considered beyond the scope of the book, perhaps this chapter should have been omitted.

On the whole, I'd recommend beginners with some familiarity with QM to read the book by Zwiebach.
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on 6 October 2008
This book really eases you into the strange and difficult field of string theory, but only if you have the background, this is not a popular science book! The background is differentiation, integration, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, a little quantum field theory, and special and general relativity. the books i reccomend to get this background, if you dont have it, are:
1) Engineering mathematics, K.A Stroud (6th edition)
2) Advanced Engineering Mathematics, K.A Stroud (4th revised edition)
3) Mechanics series (1,2,3&4), Douglas Quadling
4) Quantum Mechanics Demystified, David McMahon
5) Quantum Field Theory Demystified, David McMahon
6) Relativity Demystified, David McMahon

Wit the nessecary background this text is perfect to lead to more advanced ones on the subject.
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on 24 October 2008
As above really, a good introductory book on this complicated area of physics/mathematics but the final editing and quality control leaves a lot to be desired with many errors still in the final product. If you know a bit about university level mathematics and this area of research then you can spot the mistakes fairly easily but a newcomer to this topic may not spot these errors and subsequently may be misled.
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on 30 November 2011
A good introduction to the mathematics of String Theory, but we warned this is not easy mathematics. A knowledge of Langrangian mechanics, quantum theory and quantum field theory is required to get the best out of this book.
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