Up until this point, most Java programming books attempt to make the reader believe that Java is the way-of-the-future and that all other languages are soon to become obsolete. Not so with this book. The author presents Java with all of its warts while continually comparing it to C++ and sometimes C. He admits not being a fan of Java and assumes you are only interested in learning it because your superiors are forcing a Java project upon your OpenVMS system (this is probably more true than not).
The author uses a colloquial writing style in the book that is easy to read. From time to time he veers off to give further insights to the points he is trying to make but never looses sight of his main objectives, and this is laudable considering the amount of information being dispensed. This is mostly seen in the form of anecdotal information sometimes to clarify his own code other times to give more of a historical perspective. This colloquial style partnered with the unique structure of the book makes for a very interesting contrast as this book could be seen as a reference manual but at its core its a lot more of a personal account on good OpenVMS programming practice by Mr Hughes. A fact that he himself doesn't hide as he relates his opinions on such practices as well as many other subjects throughout the book with a great sense of humor which makes for a much more interesting reading.
Mr Hughes great sense of humor and insight culminates in this book's final chapter called "Ruminations and Observations" which has nothing to do with OpenVMS but is more of an opinion piece on a few subjects that touch all of us that work in IT. These subjects range from the real reason Y2k happened to offshore computing to avoiding a hellhole shop, and are bound to make more than one programmer laugh with glee and more than one manager blush.
In conclusion this is a must read for anybody wanting to learn to write code in this most venerable of Operating Systems.