This is one of the heaviest manuals in the SQL arena--in both weight and content. It is also one of the most up-to-date SQL books around and one of the few to cover the most recent extensions of SQL, such as the Call-Level Interface (SQL/CLI) and the Persistent Stored Modules feature (SQL/PSM). If you want to go beyond the SQL92 standard, which is covered by most other SQL books, then Date and Darwen's manual is for you. Arguably the most complete SQL guide, A Guide to the SQL Standard
contains resources such as a full listing of SQL grammar, which is indispensable in tricky programming situations. The Date and Darwen book does not assume that you are using any particular SQL dialect, so it can be used with any standard SQL database. A beginner who picks up this book first is unlikely to learn much of anything about SQL. But for information about obscure SQL commands or precise definitions of syntax, there is no better place to turn.