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on 19 November 2011
It's a bit difficult to comment on this one. On the one hand, it's been a great pleasure for me to go through it (have just finished it) and now I really want to pursue studying Classical Chinese. On the other hand, to me this looks like an unfinished work. Here are a little list of pros and cons:

Pros:
-the texts are great, they gradually go from very easy to more difficult, even though it remains fairly basic by the end of the book.
-the separation in three tomes is nice, as I could read the text, then later only look at the vocabulary, and finally the analyses without having a too heavy book.
-in the vocabulary book, every character from the text is listed with the meaning it has in that text. This is particularly convenient as characters in Classical Chinese usually have several meanings, sometimes completely unrelated, and going oneself through a dictionary and guess the appropriate meaning of each character (I've done it, thinking I would not always have a book to tell me which meaning to choose, so as to practice) is of great help.
-grammar is explained as it appears in new texts, and texts reinforce the learning as a new structure is likely to pop-up in the next texts.
-explanations are in Mandarin as well as English. This is very good for learners like me who can speak Chinese, but don't necessarily want to rely only on Chinese (I'm not particularly interested in knowing the grammatical terminology, I want to understand what's going on), as sometimes explanations are pretty long and I would prefer to enjoy more of the text than deciphering what the Chinese means.
-I believe it assumes no knowledge of Mandarin, even though it clearly helps to know some.

Cons:
-the proof-reading is poor. Glaring mistakes are common, be it typos or sentences repeated.
-if the selection of text is great, it mostly follows a selection of texts that's commonly found in many textbooks of this kind..
-the translation process is a bit too long: the sentence is first glossed character by character, then it takes 3 steps of little expansions to reach a proper English translation. Out of those 4, I guess at least 1 intermediate (if not the 2 of them) translations is superfluous, and this could help reduce the size of the book (or adding more texts). Same comment for the fact that all along the book, translations of "X says" take up useless space (after the first lesson you know that it means "X says"...)
-the font for Chinese characters is ugly. The printing is ugly as well, and the layout of the page is not very readable, the same spacing being used between lines and paragraphs.
-the exercises provided at the end of the book do not contain key answers. This is a big problem, because I believe this book was supposed to be for self-learners, and therefore would require key answers. If the book is not intended for self-learners, then the only merit of the book is in displaying a list of vocabulary and the grammatical explanations, as the selection of texts didn't require much effort (many textbooks have almost the same...) and no effort has been made on presentation.

Finally, I would still say I'm happy I've used this book, but I probably wouldn't buy the supplement, as there seems to be other books with better format out there.
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on 9 December 2007
Having a good time with this set.
Well worth the money.
Having the texts in classical Chinese, modern Chinese, pinyin and English means that you can structure your approach in a variety of ways.
The extensive vocabularies and exercises are a great help and the whole volume functions in many ways as a very considerable reference text.
I'm very happy with this purchase and look forward to adding some of the other volumes when I'm finished with this one.
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