Since I’ve been refreshing my practical computer science knowledge recently, including picking up the Python language and getting dirty with the practical aspects of computer security, I thought that the Violent Python book might be the perfect match. It’s definitely not a bad book, but it will probably get a nice little place on the basement bookshelf.
It is hardly scientific, but the fact that the book contains full terminal dumps from installing packages and downloading files using
wget is usually not a good sign. I don’t know why this is done (if not to just increase the page count for higher profit) yet it makes the book harder to read since a lot has to be skipped. Of course this shouldn’t be used as the only means of judging the book, but also in this case does the correlation manifest itself.
Having said that though, the book also contains a lot of interesting material, most noticeably a good survey of the extension module available for Python as well as interesting case studies of previous exploits. Although for the latter, it is no match for Hacking Exposed which contain a lot more concentrated.
What would I have liked to see in the book? Well I suppose its subscript “a cookbook for hackers, forensic analysts, penetration testers, and security engineers” is actually rather fitting, except for the latter: as someone who’s primarily interested in building security systems using Python, it helped me understand more about how to break into them but very little about how to build them.