I just stumbled across JavaRanch and am interested in the Cattle Drive. The site mentions getting "Just Java 2" by Peter van der Linden. Is that info current? Are most folks working through the Cattle Drive using that book?
I did the drive without the book, but it was because I couldn't get my hands on a copy. I think if I had been able to use the book, I would have made much faster progress, especially at the beginning, and I wouldn't have needed to rely so much on the cattle drive forum to get my elementary questions answered. But everyone on the drive did answer my questions, and gave me a whole lot of emotional/moral/technical support, so my advice is do the drive, with or without the book!