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The following books are highly recommended for learning the basics of Java. If you have a book to recommend, please email me.

Cover of The Java Programming Language

The Java Programming Language, Third Edition
K. Arnold, J. Gosling, and D. Holmes
Addison-Wesley, 2000

A concise introduction to the Java language cowritten by James Gosling, Java’s chief designer. It’s well written and manages to convey a lot of the thinking behind the design of Java. Coverage of the API is very limited, though, and there are few examples of complete programs.

Cover of The Java Tutorial

The Java Tutorial: A Short Course on the Basics, Third Edition
M. Campione, K. Walrath, and A. Huml
Addison-Wesley, 2000

This is Sun's "official" Java tutorial. It's available on the Web at

Cover of Core Java 2, Volume I

Core Java 2, Volume I: Fundamentals, Sixth Edition
C. S. Horstmann and G. Cornell
Prentice-Hall, 2002

Reading Core Java (a two-volume set) is the best way for an experienced programmer to learn Java. The writing is clear and there are plenty of good examples. Volume I covers the basics of Java.

Cover of Core Java 2, Volume II

Core Java 2, Volume II: Advanced Features, Fifth Edition
C. S. Horstmann and G. Cornell
Prentice-Hall, 2002

Volume II of Core Java covers the advanced features of Java, including threads, collection classes, network programming, JDBC, RMI, advanced Swing, JavaBeans, and security. Note that the Sixth Edition of Volume II is not currently available; presumably it will be published in 2004.

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

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