WINDOWS INTERNALS by Matt Pietrek, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-62217-3, $29.95
 When I run Windows from a DOS prompt, I type WIN, and in a few seconds, the
Windows user interface appears. I had a pretty good idea of what happens in
between, but I was never quite sure. Windows Internals solved that mystery for
me. From the moment I opened this book, I was transformed from a mere
programmer to a Windows systems designer. It explains every aspect of Windows,
including start-up and shutdown, memory management, program loading, the
windowing system, the GDI (Graphical Device Interface), the scheduler,
messaging, and dynamic linking. Each component is examined in great detail
with the aid of C p-code.
    Reading the first chapter was a real education for me, as it explains how
the system goes from a simple DOS-based configuration to a complex multitasker
while still relying on DOS. Each sentence is like tracing into a line of code,
and this chapter provides a step-by-step process of explaining exactly how
Windows works.
    I was pleased to see that, unlike similar books, Windows Internals does
not contain a discussion of basic programming fundamentals such as protect
mode and selectors. It assumes that you are already familiar with them.
Beginning programmers or readers not familiar with Windows programming should
probably start with something more basic before reading this book.
    The text is balanced with just the right amount of humor, and the book is
surprisingly easy to read for such a highly technical subject. It includes
listings for some handy little programs, but don't look for fancy diagrams or
pictures--this is hard-core development material. Every experienced Windows
programmer should read Windows Internals and keep it on the shelf for future
 Steven J. Mastrianni