Revolutionary freshman-year textbook of what was then termed New Math, written by John G. Kemeny (a Hungarian of note, teaching at Dartmouth), J. Laurie Snell (also at Dartmouth), and Gerald L. Thompson (of Carnegie-Mellon), introduced in 1956 at Dartmouth University, with several revisions. Its claim to fame rests on a number of grounds. For the first time, contemporary mathematical developments were presented to undergraduate students, and even, it was hoped some in high school. Also, it grounded math firmly in the human sciences, beginning with symbolic logic, passing through set theory, probability, and some linear algebra to finish, with a grand flourish, with game theory and applications of math to behavioral science. Its teaching style is both memorable and lively, from the first page onward: examples given refer to such eternal verities of student life as drinking beer, chasing the opposite sex, and deciding whether to study or goof off. A running subset of problems have to do with baseball, particularly the (then) last year's World Series, political primaries (in New Hampshire, a pardonable obsession) and of course, there are references to all kinds of games in general. More conventional word problems (mostly about business, politics and economics) are given in such a way as to engage creativity and imagination...if you were a businessman, a politician, or a planner, what would you do? Material is presented clearly and simply, with many line diagrams, and with a list of books for further reading at the end of each chapter.

As an intermediate-level math student, I found some of the material a little too basic for a modern reader, who might well have had the word "set" explained to them in elementary school, and is probably well-aware that various connectives such as and and or have applications in the electronics. The diagrams could use a little color. Still, I find it sad that this book is out of print....perhaps a job for Dover Publications?

Newsflash! It's available on the web (under the gnu licence, no less) from in .pdf format.


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