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C Programming
Of course, my number-one recommendation is C Programming: A Modern Approach! But if you already have a copy and you're interested in expanding your knowledge of C even further, here are my top picks. If you have a book to recommend, please email me. For the ultimate C reference, you'll need to get a copy of the C standard itself (available from the ANSI Electronic Standards Store).

Cover of The C Puzzle Book

The C Puzzle Book (Revised Edition)
A. R. Feuer
Addison-Wesley, 1998

If you like to solve puzzles and want to improve your understanding of C, you'll enjoy this book. Each "puzzle" is a small C program; the reader's job is to determine what the program prints. The book shows the correct output of each program and provides a detailed explanation of how it works.

Cover of C: A Reference Manual

C: A Reference Manual, Fifth Edition
S. P. Harbison III and G. L. Steele, Jr.
Prentice-Hall, 2002

The ultimate C reference—essential reading for the would-be C expert. Covers the entire language in considerable detail, with frequent discussions of implementation differences found in C compilers. Not a tutorial—assumes that the reader is already well versed in C. The fifth edition adds coverage of the new C99 standard.

Cover of C Unleashed

C Unleashed
R. Heathfield, L. Kirby, et al.
Sams, 2000

Usually I'm a bit apprehensive about books whose titles contain words such as "unleashed," but this one has considerable merit. It consists of discrete chapters on various advanced C topics, written by C experts of long standing. The first part of the book deals with general issues faced by C programmers. The second uses C code to discuss common algorithms and data structures, and the third covers applications for C, ranging from genetic algorithms to natural language processing.

Cover of The C Programming Language 

The C Programming Language, Second Edition
B. W. Kernighan and D. M. Ritchie
Prentice-Hall, 1988

The original C book, affectionately known as K&R or simply "the White Book." Includes both a tutorial and a complete C reference manual. The second edition reflects the changes made in Standard C. The first edition is sometimes called the "Old Testament"; the second edition, of course, is the "New Testament."

Cover of C Traps and Pitfalls 

C Traps and Pitfalls
A. Koenig
Addison-Wesley, 1989

An excellent compendium of common (and some not-so-common) C pitfalls. Forewarned is forearmed.

 Cover of The Standard C Library

The Standard C Library
P. J. Plauger
Prentice-Hall, 1992

Not only explains all aspects of the standard library, but provides complete source code! There's no better way to learn the library than to study this book. Even if your interest in the library is minimal, the book is worth getting just for the opportunity to study C code written by a master.

 Cover of Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment

Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
W. R. Stevens
Addison-Wesley, 1992

An excellent follow-up to C Programming: A Modern Approach for programmers working under the UNIX operating system. Focuses on using the library functions that are provided in UNIX, including Standard C functions as well as functions that are specific to UNIX.

 Cover of C Programming FAQs

C Programming FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
S. Summit
Addison-Wesley, 1996

An expanded version of the FAQ list that has appeared for years in the Usenet comp.lang.c newsgroup.


The C Answer Book, Second Edition
C. L. Tondo and S. E. Gimpel
Prentice-Hall, 1988 (reprinted 1993)

Contains answers to the exercises in the second edition of K&R.

Cover of Expert C Programming

Expert C Programming
P. van der Linden
Prentice-Hall, 1994

Written by one of the C wizards at Sun Microsystems, this book manages to entertain and inform in equal amounts. With its profusion of anecdotes and jokes, it makes learning the fine points of C seem almost fun.

Click on the cover art or title to see each book's description at To see lists of best-selling C and C++ books at, click on the Amazon logo below.

Copyright © 1999-2004 K. N. King. All rights reserved.