Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training
, 2nd edition
By Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore.
Substance 5 out of 5 (well worth the price, good text-to-price ratio)
Presentation 5 out of 5 (good pictures, good construction, easy to read)
Strength: Why and How
The Bench Press
The Power Clean
Useful Assistance Exercises
Starting Strength is an excellent, basic guide to barbell training. It's aimed at both novice lifters and those who would coach novice lifters.
Each basic compound lift gets its own chapter, and has thorough, step-by-step instruction on the lift. The writing is clear and easy to follow and the pictures are well-placed and accurate (they don't disagree with the text or show bad form unintentionally). There are lots of excellent queues and tips for the lifts, and lots of attention is paid to correcting bad form and ensuring proper technique.
The Useful Assistance Exercises chapter covers exactly that - squat variations like the box squat and front squat, RDLs and SLDLs, back extensions (on an apparatus), chinups and pullups (including dead-hang and kipping), glute-ham raises, and more. Even curls ("Since you're going to do them anyway, we might as well discuss the right way to do curls." - pg 274).
The Programming chapter is pretty basic, boiling down largely to "lift more, eat more" but it's aimed at novices. It doesn't provide a guide to intermediate and advanced programming but doesn't pretend to, either. It covers warmup sets, rest, basic programming, the response of the body to various rep ranges, and a guide to the "first day" in the gym for a new trainee. It also covers equipment, the fairly no-nonsense basic requirements - the advice is both general (you need a rack) and specific (this is the size rack you need).
Overall, it's a great book. It does exactly what it sets out to do, and it's useful for many levels of lifters. Worth checking out even if you already know how to do those big lifts.