This item is from the Yet Another Enhanced IDE/Fast-ATA/ATA-2 FAQ, by John Wehman and Peter den Haan with numerous contributions by others. (v1.92).
Hale Landis (firstname.lastname@example.org) has written a number of "how it works" documents dealing with boot sectors, MBRs and partition tables. These are available in a ZIP archive from <ftp://fission.dt.wdc.com/pub/otherdocs/pc_systems/how_it_works/>. Also, he has an extensive description of BIOS types, invaluable for programmers, a "Facts and Fiction" series that dispels a couple of common myths, and more. These, together with the How It Works documents (in case you cannot FTP) are available from his mail server; to get started, send an e-mail message