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  • Print publication year: 1974
  • Online publication date: August 2012



This book is a substantially enlarged version of the Cambridge Tract with the same title published in 1974. There are two major changes.

• The main text has been thoroughly revised in order to clarify the exposition, and to bring the notation into line with current practice. In the course of revision it was a pleasant surprise to find that the original text remained a fairly good introduction to the subject, both in outline and in detail. For this reason I have resisted the temptation to reorganise the material in order to make the book rather more like a standard textbook.

• Many Additional Results are now included at the end of each chapter. These replace the rather patchy selection in the old version, and they are intended to cover most of the major advances in the last twenty years. It is hoped that the combination of the revised text and the additional results will render the book of service to a wide range of readers.

I am grateful to all those people who have helped by commenting upon the old version and the draft of the new one. Particular thanks are due to Peter Rowlinson, Tony Gardiner, Ian Anderson, Robin Wilson, and Graham Brightwell. On the practical side, I thank Alison Adcock, who prepared a TEX version of the old book, and David Tranah of Cambridge University Press, who has been constant in his support.