This book is wholeheartedly recommended to every student or user of mathematics. Although the author modestly describes his book as 'merely an attempt to talk about' algebra, he succeeds in writing an extremely original and highly informative essay on algebra and its place in modern mathematics and science. From the fields, commutative rings and groups studied in every university math course, through Lie groups and algebras to cohomology and category theory, the author shows how the origins of each algebraic concept can be related to attempts to model phenomena in physics or in other branches of mathematics. Comparable in style with Hermann Weyl's evergreen essay The Classical Groups, Shafarevich's new book is sure to become required reading for mathematicians, from beginners to experts.

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