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Bundle_Gerbe comments on The Best Textbooks on Every Subject - Less Wrong

167 Post author: lukeprog 16 January 2011 08:30AM

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Comment author: Bundle_Gerbe 20 July 2012 04:13:00PM *  5 points [-]

For abstract algebra I recommend Dummit and Foote's Abstract Algebra over Lang's Algebra, Hungerford's Algebra, and Herstein's Topics in Algebra. Dummit and Foote is clearly written and covers a great deal of material while being accessible to someone studying the subject for the first time. It does a good job focusing on the most important topics for modern math, giving a pretty broad overview without going too deep on any one topic. It has many good exercises at varying difficulties.

Lang is not a bad book but is not introductory. It covers a huge amount but is hard to read and has difficult exercises. Someone new to algebra will learn faster and with less frustration from a less advanced book. Hungerford is awful; it is less clear, less modern, harder, and covers less material than Dummit and Foote. Herstein is ok but too old fashioned and narrow, and has too much focus on finite group theory. The part about Galois theory is good though, as are the exercises.

Comment author: magfrump 26 October 2012 04:52:32AM *  0 points [-]

I'll second this; I used Herstein a lot but after the classes it was assigned for I have never referenced anything but Dummit and Foote.