Python Books

Wesley Chun wesc at
Fri Nov 17 01:10:29 CET 2000

In article <mailman.974243977.17502.python-list at>,
  Jan Dries <jdries at> wrote:
> Simon Foster wrote:
> > Anybody who would like to make any recommendation?
> >
> > I have "Learning Python" and "Programming Python on Win32"
> > and was thinking of buying "Programming Python" by Mr. Lutz.
> >
> > Any other must-haves for bathtime browsing?
> I have all of the above, and a few others, and each of them has had
> use at one time or another, but the only true must-have, IMHO, is
> "Python Essential Reference", by David M. Beazley, New Riders
> Publishing, ISBN 0-7357-0901-7.

books, books, books.  we are *still* lucky that there are
few enough Python books to buy them all right?  i'm always
overwhelmed by how many Java books there are when i step
into a bookstore!

"Learning Python" was the first real easy-to-read book on
Python for me.  complaints i often get are that it is geared
"too much" to C programmers.  since i'm a C programmer, i
guess i didn't have that problem.

"Programming Python" was a bit too large and monolithic for
me to learn from -- it's more like a big case study type of
book, but Mark's intention at the time was to put *everything*
he knew about Python into it because he wasn't sure whether
any other Python book would hit the market any time soon!

"Python Essential Reference" (PER) by Dave Beazley, i will
agree with some of the other replies, is a *must have*.  it
sure beats hauling the entire Library Reference to the bath-
tub much less the train.  it's a concise version of the Lib.
Ref that i take everywhere i go.

as far as books that are 2.0-compliant, there appear to be
only 3 Python books on the near horizon:

Andre Lessa's "Python Developer Handbook" (Sams), Alan Gauld's
newbies book, "Learn to Program using Python," and the book
which i just finished up for Prentice Hall's Core series,
"Core Python Programming" (CPP).

while i can't speak for the other two, at the risk of doing
a shameless plug, i put together the manuscript while 1.5.2
was the major release.  as the 1.6 and 2.0 features were
being added to Python, i put little annotations in the text
to indicate new 1.6 and 2.0 features.  there is even a small
"What's New in 2.0" Appendix section which takes the main
new features and presents a few examples using them.

incidentally, the target audience of CPP is a technical
professional already familiar with another high-level
language.  the book contains lots of examples with the in-
teractive interpreter so that you can see exactly what Py-
thon is doing as you are reading and learning.  the main
purpose of this text is to get people up-to-speed as quickly
as possible in Python by leveraging off their current pro-
gramming knowledge.  oh, and plenty of exercises too.

still, i wouldn't call it a true reference like PER is.  :-)


* "Core Python Programming", Prentice Hall PTR, TBP Fall 2000

* Silicon Valley-SF Bay Area Python users group (

* wesley.j.chun :: :: silicon.valley, ca

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