Preface

Writing a textbook on a topic that has matured over the years is, for obvious reasons, truly daunting. First, a subject that continues to be important enough to be taught in classrooms even after eight decades demands that those studying it for the first time not only understand the critical concepts, but also learn to appreciate the finer nuances so that the subject and the practitioners continue to grow together. Second, almost every such mature area has some established books that have stood the test of time and continue to hold sway over a large majority of the readers. To match up to the standards set by such books is far from easy.

At the same time, we maintain that there is a need for books that meet the requirements of present-day ...

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