A little background first: As my info page explains, I'm a retired writer/editor, never good at math as a kid but always fascinated by physics, who has decided to take a long, slow, pleasurable road toward learning the necessary math to get to at least high school-level physics. My approach is self-study supplemented whatever good MOOCs I can find (I just completed a great one in entry-level logic & proofs, from Stanford's Kevin Devlin); ALEKS, which I just learned about yesterday; and (maybe) auditing courses at my local state university once I turn 60, which happens in April. My current target is re-learning precalc & high school algebra. My impression (from taking the logic/proofs course mentioned above) is that although this level of algebra isn't "advanced," it is nonetheless essential to many, many further branches of math (not to mention physics). I've got Gelfand and Shen's enjoyable little volume Algebra, and have gotten about a quarter way through it; but I have read a review that says that as good as this book is, it's intended as a supplement to a standard algebra textbook. Plus, I've heard that although the pie in ALEKS is great for telling you what you need to focus on, the topic presentations are rather brief & perhaps best supplemented with a good book. So that's what I'm looking for - a basic "beginning/intro" algebra book to go w/ Gelfand and ALEKS. Now . . . my dilemma: I dislike Pearson-style books intensely; but that is practically all I can find on Amazon; that, plus a few Dover books that don't seem quite right. Nor do I like the "Art of Problem Solving" books. Blizter almost seems good despite having the usual Pearson faults; however I find complaints on Amazon with his series about even simple aspects of production, e.g. student solutions not matching the problems, etc. The one book I have found that looks like it will be quite good is a Wiley book, https://www.amazon.com/Precalculus-...&keywords=Precalculus:+A+Prelude+to+Calculus, Sheldon Axler, 2nd edition. However Axler warns in the introduction that his book assumes as a prerequisite "the usual course in intermediate algebra." Oops! So possibly I'm not quite ready for Axler, and might need something more basic to start with? Of course such a book (well written, not overpriced, not overstuffed, not full of unnecessary color graphics and stupid "real world" pseudo-examples) may not exist. And it may not strictly be necessary; when ALEKS points me to a particular topic, I can probably just search on the web for appropriate articles & math sites for more background. But I'm curious if anyone knows a favorite intro algebra book that is non-Pearson that they could recommend. I may just end up going with the https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Alg...=UTF8&qid=1490776334&sr=1-25&keywords=algebra, since it isn't expensive & he starts off nice and easy.