Wed, 09 Sep 2009
You think you're All That, but you're not!
So I was delighted to discover that there was a new book out called Term Rewriting and All That. The "...and All That" suffix is a reference to the tongue-in-cheek classic of British history, 1066 and All That, and promised a casual, accessible, and possibly humorous treatment.
Unfortunately the promise was not kept. The book is very good, but it is not casual or humorous. Nor is it especially accessible. It is a solid slab of term rewriting, one of those books that make me think "I would not want to drop it on my foot." That is not a bad thing; the Barendregt book is superb, an enormous superb slab of lambda calculus that you would not want to drop on your foot. But it is not titled "Lambda Calculus and All That".
So why the title? I don't know. The authors are Germans, so perhaps they don't understand the joke?
[ Addendum: There's exactly one review of this book on Amazon, and it says the same thing I do. It begins: "My main criticism of this book is its title." ]