I’ve got Dennis Ritchie’s (and Brian Kernighan’s) book “The C Programming Language” when I was 15. I remember it quite well because I got in English (it wasn’t translate yet to Russian) and it took me a while to read it (often with vocabulary). It took me a lot longer to learn C and follow it through coding… I’ve had AT&T 7300 Unix workstation at home that I was hacking everyday after school. Graphics were pretty pail comparing to Amiga/Atari (which interestingly were all based on the same Motorola 68000 CISC processor) – but it was genuine Unix environment and I believe it’s what got me hooked every since.
I think that book along with Rob Pike’s (and again along with Brian Kernighan) book “The Unix Programming Environment” were the two most influential books in my early years – if not overall. Somehow they opened up the inner-beauty and almost an mathematical elegance of Unix and its main language – C language.
Since I was 15 till early 20 I was writing programs exclusively in C/C++ and Unix – thanks to wonderful language created by Dennis Ritchie and his equally wonderful book.
It’s sad to see the legend go…