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Bear Bibeault is a web developer and coauthor of Ajax in Practice,Prototype and Scriptaculous in Action, and jQuery in Action from Manning.
I actually own the first edition of this book, and decided to get this edition as well. There is of course some duplication between the two versions. but there is also a huge amount of new material in this edition. It is well worth getting the 2nd edition even if you already own the 1st edition.
This book is probably not a good first introduction to the language, but it is an excellent way to complete your knowledge. If you want to start from scratch, I would recommend doing any language tutorial online, getting comfortable with that material, and then picking up this book. The book takes a browser-based approach, but the examples written so that they are easy to follow for other environments like the Node console, which is what I am using since I am more interested in Node.js.