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This third edition is a revised and expanded version of Winston and Horn's best-selling introduction to the Lisp programming language and to Lisp-based applications, many of which are possible as a result of advances in Artificial Intelligence technology. The Knowledge You Need The new edition retains the broad coverage of previous editions that has made this book popular both with beginners and with more advanced readers -- coverage ranging from the basics of the language to detailed examples showing Lisp in practice. ...

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Aug 19, 2007

Good book, but not great

This is a good introduction to Lisp, and it seems to be a popular choice. However, I think it's not the best option for a first Lisp book.
The book is usually described as "advanced", but it really isn't. I think people believe that, because the second part describes Artificial Intelligence applications using Lisp, it's supposed to teach you more Lisp than other book. That is not the case. The A.I. part of the book is now outdated, and even when it was published, it didn't use too many advanced language features or programming techniques. For example, the condition system is not explained at all (and this is one of the areas in which Lisp really shines); the descriptions of macros is too short, and the authors didn't care to teach how to avoid the problems you may find when writing macros; there is no mention of domain-specific languages; and finally, the book has absolutely no information on how to optimize Lisp programs.
I wouldn't strongly recommend this book, although I can't say it's bad. It's just "OK".

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