Under review is ``HACKING: THE ART OF EXPLOITATION, 2ND EDITION'' by Jon Erickson (ISBN 978-1-59327-144-2). Information concerning it may be found here and here.
I was cleaning lately and came across this old book I'd read several years back. Despite suboptimal storage conditions it was still in a reasonable condition, so its binding was apparently worthwhile. I don't recall finding the book particularly enlightening even at the time, and I never used its CD.
The book begins with an explanation of what hacking truly is, and a C-flavored intro to programming. The first hundred and so pages go by rather easily, and it doesn't hide the underlying machine code, nor other interesting details for some things; the book then begins introducing buffer overflows and ``shellcode'' and the like. It also has chapters for networking, countermeasures, and cryptography.
While it's been nice to reminisce, I don't at all recall this book significantly contributing in any way to my understanding. I seem to recall recollecting fragments occasionally to occupy myself, but only ever as a curiousity. The information in the book is certainly outdated in many ways, and I've pursued the path where such trivial exploitations aren't possible. I could certainly appreciate the book more now, but lack that want. In this context, I can only recommend it for an ignorant reader.