The former is a much recommended book since it's very comprehensive and builds everything from the ground up and was the basis for the entire course. The latter is a beast of it's own and we simply covered what was effectively the first chapter as part of the course.
I think if he would have been alive at the right time these would have been blog posts. Before reading them, I had taken an intro class in thermodynamics which at left me completely confused.
Read THE EVOLUTION OF CARNOT'S PRINCIPLE ( http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/articles/ccarnot.pdf )
for incredible insights on how Carnot pioneered thermodynamics by trying to optimize steam engines.
Also if you think you dislike statistics and probabilities but you like math in general his book might change your mind: Probability Theory: The Logic of Science.
Free draft: http://omega.albany.edu:8008/JaynesBook.html
In fact understanding his stance on probabilities, the mind projection fallacy in particular might be prerequisite to understand thermodynamics, the fundamental point being that entropy is not really directly a property of matter but more of a meta property that is about knowledge or information which is taken to mean correlations across aggregate matter.