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Core Java 1.2:
If you need to get something done in Java, Core Java 1.2, Volume 1--Fundamentals is one of the best books you can turn to for assistance. It's devoid of shaky, academic examples and packed with robust demonstrations that illustrate hundreds of powerful concepts.
This book begins with an explanation of the Java programming and execution environments in general terms and then provides specific examples of how to put key parts of the core packages to work. The authors back up the many examples with sharp, fact-rich commentary on how to get things done with Java. This volume covers data structures, object orientation, events, applets, input/output, and Swing.
A quick note: though the title of this book includes the words Java 1.2, the Java examples appear to be based on a very late beta and effectively cover what's now called Java 2. JavaSoft changed the name of the software during the final stages of testing--after the authors had finished this book. --David Wall [via]