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Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers (4th Edition)

** [Aug 22, 2003] [Book] Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers (4th Edition)

by Kip R. Irvine

A bad, overcomplicated and dull college textbook used in many colleges for the assembler class. Pretty boring and uninspired coverage typical of many college textbooks.  It might be suitable as a reference but never as a textbook: the author has no abilities at all in distinguishing between important and unimportant material as well as material suitable and unsuitable for the intro course.

For self-education I would recommend using old John Socha's book Assembly Language for the PC instead (it covers only real mode but this is OK for the introduction) or Assembly Language Step-By-Step Programming With DOS and Linux (or prev edition of the same book, which is cheaper but has almost the same content)

The only good thing about this book is that the CD ROM included with the book contains MASM 6.15. 

The most bad thing about the book is that the author fails to distinguish between really important and redundant information and overload the book with an extra material. His approach is to add some predefined routines to assembler to make it more like a high level language. But at the same time he converts the language into a variant of  C++: obscure mass of unnecessary details that overwhelm almost all novices. Without help of the debugger assembler is almost incomprehensible. IMHO for most students, especially for community college student for whom the book was originally written might passionately hate of assembler for the rest of their lives.

So it does not surprise me that out of  17 chapters the author did found space to cover the debugger. He is too preoccupied with obscuring things that with making them simple. Actually CodeView in included on the disk and can be used for debugging the programs in 8086 mode: again I would like to stress that using the debugger is the only right way to learn assembler. Thus this is not a shortcoming, this is a real blunder and that's why I give then book only two stars: in my opinion this makes book really harmful book as it discredits the idea of assembler as an important language for any computer science student.

If you want to compensate for this shortcoming it might be not easy as additional subroutines make finding the actual code not that easy. But you can use some tricks marking the start of the code with a special sequence of commands and then finding them. There are several debuggers for 32-bit mode as well. As author himself noted on the CD ROM:

For 32-bit Protected mode programming, two excellent debuggers you can use are:

Microsoft Visual C++ Debugger - This is an integral part of Microsoft Visual Studio. Look for a tutorial on our book's Web page that shows how to set up and use this debugger.

Microsoft WinDbg Debugger - This is a stand-alone debugging utility that can be used to debug both user-mode programs and kernel-mode programs (such as device drivers). At the current time, this debugger can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's Debugging Tools for Windows web page. If this link becomes inactive, check our book's Web site for an updated URL.

There is a website at  The first three chapters are available online:



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