The Definitive C Book Guide and List


This question attempts to collect a community-maintained list of quality books on the programming language, targeted at various skill levels.

C is a complex programming language that is difficult to pick up on-the-go by reading online tutorials. A comprehensive book is often the best way to learn the language, and finding a good book is the first step. It is important to avoid badly-written books, and even more importantly, books that contain serious technical errors.

Please suggest edits to the accepted answer to add quality books, with an approximate skill level and a short blurb/description about each book. (Note that the question is locked, so no new answers will be accepted. A single answer is being maintained with the list)

Feel free to debate book choices, quality, headings, summaries, skill levels, and anything else you see that is wrong. Books that are deemed satisfactory by the C community here will stick around on the list; the rest will be regularly removed.

For books that have reviews by the Association of C and C++ Users (ACCU), a link to those reviews should be added along with the book.

See also:

This question was discussed on Meta as part of the Deleted Questions Audit 2018.
The consensus was to keep it undeleted and actively maintained.


  • 4

    If you are new to C, keep in mind that modern C is ANSI C and anything predating that standard (1989) may be wildly out of date. Shoot for the mid-90s or later.

    Jun 7, 2011 at 1:28

  • 7

    @Dhaivat I think not, be careful to jump on the K&R bandwagon. K&R does not address good program design nor good programming practice, mainly because it was originally written before anyone knew what good programming practice was. It does not mention which parts of the C language that are superfluous or even dangerous. The book is correctly listed as a reference manual, it should not be used for teaching/learning modern programming.

    – Lundin

    Aug 12, 2011 at 7:45