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The ACM launched an initiative to revive classic, out-of-print computer science books last autumn; the intention is to make the full text freely available to members. In order to select which books to include, the Association asked its members to first nominate books, then campaign for them and finally vote for their inclusion in the program.
Especially interesting are the comments collected in a Wiki (recent changes) as part of the campaigning phase, e.g. Larry Tesler's (who, among many other things*, designed Object Pascal with Niklaus Wirth) on Ken Iverson's A Programming Language:
"The book that Iverson wrote pulled you in to his way of thinking step by step, in a painless fashion. But by the end, your mind saw possibilities it had never contemplated before."
And on Guy Steele's Common Lisp the Language:
"As much as I dislike the over-designed Common LISP language and library, I understand the standardization benefits that it brought. But my highest praise for Common LISP goes not to the language, nor to the standard, but to the weighty reference manual by Guy Steele. Whenever I wanted to know how to use a function, macro or formatting character, this book told me everything I needed, in precise but readable language, with examples. The author clearly loved the language. His descriptions made the benefits of each feature apparent. His consistent writing style made few assumptions about the prior knowledge of the user. Even a skeptic like me had to smile whenever I opened this classic reference."
Comments will be closed tomorrow (sadly), so if you have any experiences to share, please do so quickly.
* Among many, many, many other things.
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