This text provides an excelent introduction to the principles underlying statistical mechanics. Although some prior mathematical knowledge is required, this knowledge need not include a great knowledge of statistical techniques. Much of the mathematical skills needed to understand and use statistical mechanics are covered in the first couple of chapters. The text also covers some fundamental thermodynamics, in a more understandable and useful manner than several books dedicated to thermal physics, before going on to present the joint application of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics as a very useful tool in predicting the properties of a number of types of physical system. Each chapter concludes with a selection of problems, with solutions at the end of the book, providing an oppurtunity to both test understanding of the material and develop the skills needed to apply statistical mechanics. Finally, and most unusually for the type of subject matter covered, it is not difficult to read. The pages are clearly laid out, diagrams are used effectively and all equations are clearly ennumerated. Most importantly, however, the text covers the fundamental physics effectively and concisely, whilst providing sufficient detail on each topic. I would consider this book essential reading for any undergraduate studying physical sciences, and a source of good reference material for anyone using the techniques of statistical mechanics at higher levels.