What is the Best Way to Learn to Play Bridge?
There is really no substitute for getting out a deck of cards and playing the game. A school bridge club that mixes some instruction with a lot of playing cards can get you right into the game.
Nowadays, you can also play bridge online. Once you have your feet wet, a good site to check out is Bridge Base Online. You can play for free, and they offer tournaments for nominal fees.
Books and Other Learning Materials
A search for "contract bridge" on Amazon recently turned up 3,841 books. Many of them are good and aimed at beginners. Most bridge players can suggest some favorites.
To get you started: Eddie Kantar has written a number of good books, many suitable for beginners. They are available at his website and Amazon.com. Charles Goren wrote authoritative books on bridge a few generations ago, and the chapters of Goren's Bridge Complete relating to card play have stood the test of time. Be warned: bidding has changed a lot since his books were written. Mike Lawrence's books on bidding probably reflect modern bidding better.
Instructional software is available for free download through Bridge Base Online at their home page, courtesy of the American Contract Bridge Leage. This software works on PCs, not on Macs.