"In the world of mathematics, the 1980's might well be described as the "decade of the fractal". Starting with Benoit Mandelbrot's remarkable text The Fractal Geometry of Nature, there has been a deluge of books, articles and television programmes about the beautiful mathematical objects, drawn by computers using recursive or iterative algorithms, which Mandelbrot christened fractals. Gerald Edgar's book is a significant addition to this deluge. Based on a course given to talented high- school students at Ohio University in 1988, it is, in fact, an advanced undergraduate textbook about the mathematics of fractal geometry, treating such topics as metric spaces, measure theory, dimension theory, and even some algebraic topology...the book also contains many good illustrations of fractals (including 16 color plates)."
"The book can be recommended to students who seriously want to know about the mathematical foundation of fractals, and to lecturers who want to illustrate a standard course in metric topology by interesting examples."
Christoph Bandt, Mathematical Reviews
"...not only intended to fit mathematics students who wish to learn fractal geometry from its beginning but also students in computer science who are interested in the subject. Especially, for the last students the author gives the required topics from metric topology and measure theory on an elementary level. The book is written in a very clear style and contains a lot of exercises which should be worked out."
About the second edition: Changes throughout the text, taking into account developments in the subject matter since 1990; Major changes in chapter 6. Since 1990 it has become clear that there are two notions of dimension that play complementary roles, so the emphasis on Hausdorff dimension will be replaced by the two: Hausdorff dimension and packing dimension. 6.1 will remain, but a new section on packing dimension will follow it, then the old sections 6.2--6.4 will be re-written to show both types of dimension; Substantial change in chapter 7: new examples along with recent developments; Sections rewritten to be made clearer and more focused.
This new edition is extensively revised and updated with a refocused layout. In addition to the inclusion of extra exercises, the quality and focus of the exercises in this book has improved, which will help motivate the reader. New features include a discussion of infinite products, and expanded sections on metric spaces, the Baire category theorem, multi-variable functions, and the Gamma function.
Reviews from the first edition:
"This is a dangerous book. Understanding Analysis is so well-written and the development of the theory so well-motivated that exposing students to it could well lead them to expect such excellence in all their textbooks. ... Understanding Analysis is perfectly titled; if your students read it that’s what’s going to happen. This terrific book will become the text of choice for the single-variable introductory analysis course; take a look at it next time you’re preparing that class."
-Steve Kennedy, The Mathematical Association of America, 2001
"Each chapter begins with a discussion section and ends with an epilogue. The discussion serves to motivate the content of the chapter while the epilogue points tantalisingly to more advanced topics. ... I wish I had written this book! The development of the subject follows the tried-and-true path, but the presentation is engaging and challenging. Abbott focuses attention immediately on the topics which make analysis fascinating ... and makes them accessible to an inexperienced audience."
-Scott Sciffer, The Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, 29:3, 2002