Top critical review
A poor example of engineering mechanics textbook
Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2004
I was forced into purchasing this group of books for my university engineering program as all of the homework problems required were straight from this book.
Additionally, the books were packaged with schaums problem sets that were particularly useless (schaums outlines are usually excellent, but their problem sets did not contain all of the detail and had nothing extra to offer over Beer and Johnston's textbook) and therefore a waste of my money.
With that said, the only redeeming value of this book is the sheer number of exercises and answers (numerical answers with no explanation, however).
The writing quality suffers what english majors call overuse of passive voice. Overuse of the words "is," "will," "are," etc. characterize this style. With the lack of acting verbs in sentences, the book effectively numbs the mind and puts the reader to sleep. This passive use of verbage also serves to take the emphasis off of the important parts of sentences.
Aside from stylistic issues with the english language, the book also suffers from a lack of vision. The authors did not provide a good methodology to approaching problems at all. They hint at it, by telling the student to draw pictures. However, in examples, the authors jump from one step to the next without much explanation of how a person would discover the techniques themselves. This makes the homework problems particularly difficult when a completely different approach than the one in the examples is required.
There are also derivation and explanation issues. For instance, in the handling of the precession of free bodies (this example sticks out in particular), the author provides a diagram and some equations. However, students cannot precede merely from what the author explained. The student, in order to approach the problems, must assume the validity of the vector diagrams and their relationships, along with equations, seperately. The diagrams and equations WERE NOT UNIFIED in the discussion. This gives the impression that the authors seperately wrote different parts of the book, and later simply pasted the pieces together without any greater plan.
I would not recommend these books as something colleges should use.