Introduction to 80X86 Assembly Language and Computer Architecture

Author: Richard C. Detmer
List Price: $82.95
Our Price: Click to see the latest and low price
ISBN: 0763717738
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Pub (February, 2001)
Edition: Hardcover
Sales Rank: 87,494
Average Customer Rating: 4 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5
A good introduction to the topic, but that is all
I bought this book as a refresher and as a reference to keep on my shelf at work, where I need to write (or at least read and understand) some Intel x86 assembly from time to time. I was looking for something that wasn't as outdated as my college textbook, "80X86 IBM PC and Compatible Computers: Assembly Language, Design, and Interfacing, Vols. 1 and 2" by Mazidi et al (mine is the second edition). That is the problem with a lot of assembly books, is that they pre-date the 32-bit instruction set (the 80386 and higher CPUs) and hence they give a lot of bad and just wrong advice. This book does not have that problem, which is good. It also does a great job of helping the high-level language programmer understand how their programming language constructs translate into assembly instructions and actually take place. I have never seen a good explanation of that outside of articles by disassemblers and reverse engineers, but every programmer ought to know these concepts because it may come in handy when debugging some day.

But although it serves as an excellent introduction to the material, it is on the thin side (500 pages) for the hefty textbook price it wields. It's just not comprehensive, nor does it have any practical programming lessons for the reader. Unlike my college textbook above, which was used for a two semester senior-level course, this textbook just doesn't cover what I want (a practical guide to using assembly in the field, as opposed to just in the classroom). I don't think it's thorough enough for a comprehensive college course in the subject. When you finish the book, you may understand assembly, but you won't know what to do with it (or what you can do with it). Nor is it thorough enough to be used as a reference material for work. It omits quite a few processor instructions that I feel are important to know for reference.

My advice is to pass on this book, unless you are completely new to the material, because it seems like a good learning text. Even still, you will eventually need a more authoritative reference guide for when you encounter the things this book doesn't cover (such as interfacing the PC hardware).

Intel's "Software Developers Manuals" are freely available at their site in PDF, and I would suggest downloading all of those as your reference and purchasing Mazidi's book (now in fourth edition and NOT outdated anymore) for a few bucks more than this one.


Rating: 4 out of 5
Finely assembled
Great starting point for learning 32 bits assembly language with
DOS and Windows. The only defect of this book is its unbelievable price... surely due to the fact that is used a college textbook so the poor students have no choice but squander their savings on it. Luckily the content is very good,
the teaching style is excellent ( the author uses macros initially to do input and output so you won't be overwhelmed by lots of material just to write and read from the keyboard, and after you have played a bit a learned the basics he goes on explaining them). You can certainly read this book with no prior exposure to assembly and computer inner workings.
You 'better have at least some exp with a high level language,
and if you don't, why on earth do you want to start programming with assembly? Masochisms?
The one word that comes to mind about this book and author is CLARITY. It is certainly not a fun
read, but it is so clear that it is not boring.
Compliments to Richard and one star less than the max because of the rip-off price. (Get it used!)


Rating: 5 out of 5
Probably the best introductory book on 80x86 assembly
02/07/2003 - UK

I have read many introductory books on 80x86 assembly language. Every book I have read had some problems (not up to date, 16 bits only, segmented model, dos only, too long and boring, etc...) For the first time I found no disadvantages!

This book is easy to understand and it is for beginners; still, it is not trivial nor boring! It is interesting and somehow challenging. It is up-to-date: 32 bits, flat model, windows APIs, and MASM. It comes with a CD with all the software you need. Of course the book includes only basic assembly instructions (no directx, no SSE, etc...).

I strongly believe this is the best introductory book for learning 80x86 assembly language.

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