The object of this book is to introduce the reader to some of the most important techniques of modern global geometry. In writing it we had in mind the beginning graduate student willing to specialize in this very challenging field of mathematics. The necessary prerequisite is a good knowledge of the calculus with several variables, linear algebra and some elementary point-set topology.
We tried to address several issues. 1. The Language; 2. The Problems; 3. The Methods; 4. The Answers.
Historically, the problems came first, then came the methods and the language while the answers came last. The space constraints forced us to change this order and we had to painfully restrict our selection of topics to be covered. This process always involves a loss of intuition and we tried to balance this by offering as many examples and pictures as often as possible. We test most of our results and techniques on two basic classes examples: surfaces (which can be easily visualized) and Lie groups (which can be elegantly algebraized). When possible we present several facets of the same issue.