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on 7 June 2010
Definitely a first book for assembly language programming, this is a valuable and gentle introduction that's useful new and seasoned programmers alike (the latter will want to skip or skim read some of the early chapters, particularly Chapter 2's coverage of different number bases). By the time you tackle the first actual program, you've read enough to feel confident in understanding what's going on. The later chapters are well paced, progressing through memory addressing, the stack layout for Linux processes, debugging, calling functions written in C, and brief coverage of the GNU assembler syntax (the Intel syntax used by NASM is used elsewhere).

What you won't find is much material on optimisation, or exhaustive coverage of the x86 instruction set. Neither are appropriate for the introductory level of this book, and its focus remains clear as a result.

If there was one thing that I'd like to have seen, it'd be calling assembly language routines from C, but it's a reasonable omission given that it's a book on assembler and not C.
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on 22 January 1998
This book is excellent at what it's for. It is to help you understand the mechanics behind assembly language. No, it doesn't go into machine cycles for all commands, or explain the minute details. What it does do is explain the Intel proccesor and how it reacts to machine code and memory. After reading the book you can write your own program, though it would not be to useful. But as he says in the book, you'll have a clear understanding when you pick up a more advanced book. You won't be thrown off where others left out detail. He uses alot of metaphores, and even asks some obvious questions for you. It is truly a good book. My only criticism of this book is all the mistakes as the book progresses. There is a example where he wants to explain LEA, and he does, but the program that the sample is from uses OFFSET instead! None-the-less the snippet mentions LEA. Also, an embarrasing mistake, the reference for PUSH gives examples of POP. There are a few more as well. If it wasn't for the mistakes I would give this book a 9 on a scale of ten. The last point being withheld because I thought a few areas could have used more clarification. However, most of these things can be figured out by yourself. Please, don't get me wrong, it is an excellent book, and you'll be very happy that you bought it.
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on 20 September 2012
Excellent book, but way too much space has been wasted on things that could have been explained using half of the words. As a result, the author ran out of space to cover the FPU instructions, which I think is a must even for a beginning programmer, so I consider this book incomplete. Also, there are many errors, some not included in the errata. But it gives you sufficient knowledge to go on researching on your own using Intel documentation, for example. On a positive note, the language is easy to grasp even by so called "dummies". This book focuses on the Intel syntax, which I find helpful. Explanations are very detailed and there's plenty of examples. A lot of space has been devoted to setting up working environment and correct methodology, based on author's experience. Regrettably, the Insight debugger, that examples in this book use, is no longer maintained, so I had to use an old distro. What saved the 5th star is very in-depth coverage of memory addressing.
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on 20 January 2012
I love Linux. I'm interested in Assembly. I didn't want an overly complex book. What could go wrong?

Consider this book also aims at teaching people assembly as their first programming language.

The authors tone, his prose, his everything, is way too chatty. You can't absorb it all because it's way too much "fluff", and he drifts way too far from fact. This builds up into paragraphs, pages, and even chapters of unnecessary baggage. If you actually know a little about computers, you're told to skip the first 3-4 chapters.

- worst analogy of program flow and 'recipe' I've ever seen in a book. It actually makes things more complex, all that waffling on.
- author explains binary and hexadecimal via pages and pages on his own made up system "foobidty", "foobidtyfoo".
- will make you feel you're not getting anywhere, as it's like reading a novel.
- you don't actually get to do anything until about half way through the book.
- you'll read pages and pages of worthless information that amount to nothing

Ultimately enduring the authors long-winded explanations on concepts will leave you wanting to cry, even if you are a true beginner on programming and computers in general. You'll find yourself having to concentrate more on long-winded analogies, reading half of the book before you even write something in assembly, and then enduring the latter half with the same waffle will make you want to end it all.

I recommended reading the preview here on amazon or the author's site before picking this up.
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on 9 June 1998
Out of the 5 assembly books I own (beginner to advanced), this is one of the better ones. Duntemann's book is EXCELLENT. I read over my copy of Mastering Turbo Assembler and still I wasn't getting it. I read over Using Assembly Language and had the same problem. Too many authors just mention things and leave it at that figuring you already know what they are talking about. This book is not like that. He starts out at the foundation of the computer, at the CPU. He doesn't jump into programming, but rather, explains how computers work, about hex, decimal, how the processor works with code, and so on. It is actually interesting because that's exactly what assembly language is, right down to the metal. Then he takes it one command at a time and explains it very well. His examples are clear and he explains how all of it works. I was having trouble with a couple commands and couldn't find help in several other books. After I read Jeff's book, all those commands made perfect sense. He doesn't teach EVERY assembly language function, but he gives you an EXCELLENT foundation, one that is mandatory to learn assembly. In other books I've owned the authors put stories in there they try to make fit with the lessons, but they never make sense. At the beginning of some chapters, he does the same. His story makes sense, but once you read the following part on assembly, you can put the two together and understand just how things work. A perfect example is how the stack operates. If you are a complete beginner to assembly, someone who hasn't used it in a while, or need a general reference, I couldn't recommend any book more than this. Jeff is truly an excellent teacher. Keep in mind this book covers the 8086/8088 (and briefly the 286-486), so if you plan to move on, you MUST have base knowledge. You can't program the 486 (or such) without knowing the 8086/8088. So don't take that like "oh no, I'll only learn the old stale PC." You have to learn to walk before you can run. Overall, I would recommend this book! to ANYBODY wanting to learn assembly language. It lives up to its name.
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on 27 May 1999
Starts from the beginning, so some basics are explained, explains everything in a fairly under- standble way, for almost everybody! Some funny stories are added! shows you alot of detailed information about a CPU inside and how to work with the CPU in assembler, simple but GOOD!
IT does not explain EVERYTHING, but for starters this is first of all enough!
Learning assembler can be borring in the beginning, a lot of stuff to read and understand, but he succeeded to write a book for everybody!
No 5 stars, because 4 is good and a 5 is awesome great lecture! A 5 star, wel still looking for it, should even be better then this one! Because any book can do better, you know?!
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on 25 October 1998
I read this book 3 times. Yes, I did have a better understanding of assembly language and even wrote some very simple programs but I was not able to walk away and start programming in assembly. I need to learn how to compare assembly with basic or c and learn how to do conditional loops, work with variables better, do math applications ect.. While this book was a help at understanding assembly language it still did not prepare me to go at it along on my own. If your new to assembly it is a good starting point but I recommend afterwards trying to find something that takes off where this book ended if you want to improve your programming skills.
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on 28 April 1999
This was the very first book I ever read about any kind of programming. I did have plenty of mathematics, specifically number systems and Boolean logic, as well as an in depth understanding of computer architecture, but no programming knowledge at all...this book coupled the two fields with amazing clarity...every programmer should read it just once...along with another book, Hacker's, by Stephen Levy, these are the two books I read when I need a little inspiration on some idle Tuesday, as the song says...
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on 16 April 1999
With little background in computers, but a desire to take Assembly Language! and learn more... I was floundering in the class. (Irvine text) I got this book. After reading and rereading it I finally understood. IT should be titled Assembly Language for .. gardners. The author is gifted in communicating ideas to newcomers by 1) describing something reader does know, giving the learner at 'tag' to hold on to THEN 2) relating the various components of that concept to the new material, the computer.
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on 3 December 2013
The comments for 'C Programming Language' without comments about links, apply here also.
It is unfortunate that the author uses a debugger that appears to have disappeared from the market.
With this problem at the start of the book, it could deter anyone to go further into the book.
I did find, at the start, that kdbg seemed to meet the debugging requirements.
However, after updating 'kdbg' I could no longer get a register readout. Using 'gdb' is very painful and slow.
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