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Book recommendation for classical mechanics

  1. Jul 29, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I have to choose a book for classical mechanics. After reading a lot through the forum, I find that the book by A.P French and the one by Kleppner is a good buy for my undergraduate course in classical mechanics. Also, is the book by Mary Boas for Mathematical methods a good book? Please give some advice on which one to have.

    Thanking you all,

    Below are the recommendations in the university syllabus:

    Paper I: Mathematical Methods I, II
    1. Introduction to Mathematical Physics - C. Harper (Prentice-Hall of India).
    2. Mathematical Methods - M. C. Potter and J. Goldberg (Prentice-Hall of India).
    3. Vector Analysis - M. R. Spiegel, (Schaum's Outline Series) (Tata McGraw-Hill).
    4. Tatwiya Padartha Bidyar Bhumika – S. Sengupta, Asok Ghosh and D. P. Roychaudhuri
    (W.B. State Book Board (WBSBB)).
    5. Mathematical Physics – P.K. Chattopadhyay (Wiley Eastern)

    Papers II and V: Classical Mechanics I, II
    1. Theoretical Mechanics - M. R. Spiegel, (Schaum's Outline Series) (McGraw-Hill).
    2. Mechanics - K. R. Symon (Addison-Wesley).
    3. Introduction to Classical Mechanics - R. G. Takwale and P. S. Puranik (Tata McGraw-Hill).
    4. Classical Mechanics – N. C. Rana and P. S. Joag (Tata McGraw-Hill).
    7. The Feynman Lectures on Physics – Vol I (Addison-Wesley).
    8.An Introduction to Mechanics – D. Keppner and R.J. Kolenkow (Tata McGraw-Hill).
    9.Mechanics – H. S. Hans and S. P. Puri (Tata McGraw-Hill).
    10. Classical Mechanics – J. Goldstein (Narosa Publ. House).
    11. Classical Mechanics – A. K. Roychaudhuri (O. U. P., Calcutta). 27
    12. Berkeley Physics Course, Vol – I (Mechanics) (Mc Graw Hill).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2014 #2


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Jul 30, 2014 #3


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    From the list of mechanics books I know only Goldstein, and this was the standard text at my home university when we learnt analytical mechanics. Other very good book on the subject are the first volume of Landau Laufshitz's Course on Theoretical Physics and the book by Scheck. With much more mathematical rigor you should have a look at V.I. Arnold, Classical Mechanics.
  5. Aug 2, 2014 #4
    Hi! Thank you so much for the advice.. But Goldstein seems much higher than what I need right now. I am just starting my undergrad, and so I am searching a book for classical mech 1, mostly covering Newtonian mechanics. I would buy Goldstein for the course 2.
  6. Aug 2, 2014 #5


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    Arnold is awsome, but requires that you know the basics of differential geometry, so it's probably not an option here. I agree with vanhees71 that Landau & Lifschitz and Scheck are very good, but I passionately hated Goldstein for some reason. I may be in a minority though.

    Does the course cover Lagrangians and Hamiltonians at all? If not, you probably don't need a book that does (this includes all of the books vanhees71 and I have mentioned), and should probably stick to something like Kleppner & Kolenkow (the only book at that level that I'm familiar with) or the standard alternatives to it. (I don't know what they are. Someone else will have to tell you that).

    It's been a very long time since I studied K & K, and it was already an old book at the time. I would be surprised if there isn't a newer option that's better. I think it's OK though. I remember that I didn't like its presentation of special relativity, and that probably means that I thought all the other chapters were at least OK. (For SR, I always recommend the SR chapters in Schutz's GR book).
  7. Aug 2, 2014 #6
    John Taylor's book is very nice for beginners. Thornton and Marion's book is very good but a little more advanced than Taylor's book.
  8. Aug 2, 2014 #7
    Here is the course description of course 1 :


    I want to avoid Indian writers and their books. I have decided to buy one book for now to cover course 1 and has good coverage of theory. I have narrowed down to a few options : K&K, Goldstein , Gregory , French (all these for buying, as they are affordable).

    I would like to thank all of you for taking your time to reply. I am considered using Taylor and Landau for reference ( as these are too costly, Taylor is very readable).
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  9. Aug 2, 2014 #8


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    Hi, I never know what to recommend to posters from India because the books are so different. I've been looking at some Indian books now and before and there seem to be two types, ones that are all about solving very mathematical problems and ones that are very theoretical, prove this, prove that. And most of the Western books seem to be very expensive.

    K&K is obviously very good and not too expensive, 400 Rs or so, pretty good I suppose. You can read the review thread here. For me, this book is amazingly good, in the stratosphere. People do complain about the special relativity part, it can't be that bad but you can always learn that elsewhere.

    Or, choose Irodov's book "Fundamental Laws of Mechanics", 68 Rs, very cheap. It's also free online here. This is similar to K&K though K&K uses slightly more advanced math and is slightly easier, I think.

    I think those are really good and pretty cheap as well. For a second, follow-on book, there are Indian books you could choose. I have to go now but I'll respond later with some choices, international and local.
  10. Aug 2, 2014 #9


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    That's an introductory course that doesn't cover Lagrangians or Hamiltonians, so I think we can rule out Goldstein for now. Maybe for the next course.
  11. Aug 2, 2014 #10


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    Wow, French's book is only 300 Rs. Choose this one if you want an easier, more conceptual book. It'll also be very good because A.P. French was an MIT lecturer who designed the course taught by Walter Lewin in those famous videos.

    I think I'll hold off on worrying about a second book for now.
  12. Aug 17, 2014 #11
    K&K is pretty awesome
  13. Aug 18, 2014 #12
    This is award-winning : Elements of Newtonian Mechanics: Including Nonlinear Dynamics (Advanced Texts in Physics) by Jens M. Knudsen .
  14. Aug 19, 2014 #13
    Also Morin along with K&K.
  15. Aug 22, 2014 #14


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    Goldstein is good, are are the books by Greenwald. The books by Kane are worth reading as well; Kane's approach to dynamics, while somewhat procedural/methodical, is still useful for arbitrary systems and multibody systems.

    For a specific look at nonholonomic systems the classic text is by Neimark and Fufaev.

    Perhaps the end-all be-all is Papastavridis's "Analytical Mechanics : A Comprehensive Treatise on the Dynamics of Constrained Systems", a massive ~1400 page tome on the subject. (It's also very expensinve, ~$300.)

    Note that my selection of texts is biased by my background as an engineer and centered about aerospace systems.
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