Some of the above reviews have claimed that this book does not teach "real" assembly language, and that it uses 'c'-like wrappers instead of pure assembly instructions. This is a misconception most likely caused by these reviewers lack of knowledge, and/or failure to read the book of which they have submitted a review.
First off, what is Assembly Language? It is an attempt to make the actual machine instructions more readable to us humans, back when I first learned assembly language on the 6502, I programmed using hexademical instructions, so for example, changing the background color on the good old C64 would be:
Now, this isn't exactly readable as far as code goes, so later I got hold of an assembler, and the above code was written as:
This was suddenly alot more readable, and generated exactly the same code. Onwards assemblers have evolved, including things like macros, local labels, etc. HLA is one such evolution, it contains for example alot of control structures to avoid the need of labels, but that does not mean that you have to use them. For readability, it's lot easier for you to make a function call as:
But if you really want to, you can write the code yourself,
Still, this is exactly the code that will be generated by the above Foo(1,2,3), so it's really just a matter of taste.
Likewise, the high-level constructs such as IF... THEN works just the same way:
if(eax == 1) then
could be written by yourself as:
cmp eax, 1
But again, this is the same code that the high-level construct will generate. There are most likely situations where high-level constructs may generate code that could be written slightly more efficiently by hand, but it's entirely up to the programmer to use them or not. For beginners in assembly they are likely a godsend, and for experienced programmers they are simply an option.
Now, valid criticism towards this book is that the focus on HLA, although helpful, may also confuse the beginners, since it detracts somewhat from the low-level fundamentals that is the basis of assembly programming. For instance, although excellently explained, the way the stack operates could easily drown in the information sea of HLA's STATIC, VAR, READONLY, STORAGE sections described in the chapter beforehand, and make it hard for a beginner to grasp.
That said, the book still covers all basics of assembly language, from system bus to the individual cpu instructions.
And if you actually read the book, rather than firing up the examples directly, you'll have a good grasp of what these high level constructs do, and how to write your own code without using these constructs if you so please. And do not believe the above reviews stating that this is C-programming rather than assembly, if your programs consist of nothing but function calls then yes it will look like a C-program, but if your program actually does something rather than calls, you will use mov, and, or, add, sub, inc, dec, mul, div, shl, etc. like in any other assembly program, and these instructions are explained perfectly within this book.
The reason I don't give this book 5 stars is simply that I feel the focus on HLA should be mentioned in the books title, like "the Art of Assembly Language using HLA", since people using other assemblers will have to wade through alot of HLA specific content of which they have very little, if any interest.