Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation is a comprehensive guide to the Lisp programming language, specifically focusing on Common Lisp. The book is aimed at beginners who are interested in symbolic computation and want to learn how to use Common Lisp to solve real-world problems.

The book is written by David S. Touretzky, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and is based on his experience teaching Lisp to undergraduate students. The book is divided into three parts, with the first part introducing the reader to Lisp and its fundamental concepts. The second part focuses on programming with Common Lisp, and the third part covers advanced topics such as macros, object-oriented programming, and optimization.

One of the strengths of the book is its gentle approach to teaching Lisp. Touretzky uses a conversational writing style and explains concepts in a clear and concise manner. The book is also packed with examples and exercises, allowing readers to practice what they have learned.

The book begins by introducing Lisp’s syntax and data types. It then moves on to cover Lisp’s powerful macro system, which allows programmers to define their own language constructs. The book also covers Common Lisp’s object-oriented programming features, including multiple inheritance, generic functions, and method combination.

Throughout the book, Touretzky emphasizes the importance of Lisp’s interactive development environment (IDE) for rapid prototyping and experimentation. He also explains how Lisp’s REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) makes it easy to test code and explore ideas.

Overall, Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning Lisp. The book’s clear and engaging writing style, along with its numerous examples and exercises, make it an ideal starting point for beginners. Whether you are interested in symbolic computation or just want to learn a new programming language, Common Lisp is definitely worth checking out.