OK, I said I wouldn’t go buy more books because mine were old. I didn’t. I bought two more old books. I was looking on the internet for more about the “separation axioms” and came across these two. One was a familiar title that I probably should have gone looking for (“Counterexamples”), but I didn’t know of the other.

(Any discussion of the separation axioms must cope with the fact that there are two distinct sets of terminology. These books were cited as the epitomes of the two terminologies.)

They’re both very well reviewed and, it seems to me, excellent. Quite apart from that, they are also Dover paperbacks, which means they are quite affordable.

**Willard** is in the same class as Dugundji and Kelley: a textbook which is exhaustive enough to serve as a reference. Like Kelley, it has lots of problems, and many of them investigate auxiliary material. Oh, unlike the other two, Willard has a few pictures.

It is also fun to read. No, he’s not trying to be a stand-up comic, but every once in a while he phrases something nicely. “In the next (and obvious) step to normal spaces, we find ourselves confronted with the real bad boy among the separation axioms.”

**Steen and Seebach** is a compact presentation of topology (40 pages), beautifully organized counterexamples (120 pages), a summary of metrization theory (24 pages), and a collection of charts and tables for finding a desired example (20 pages). I would think, speaking as an onlooker, that this is an indispensable reference if you do much topology.

Need a reference text? Unless you need something specific from Dugundji or Kelley, I suggest you get Willard.

Doing topology beyond your first course? Get Steen & Seebach on general principles.

## Books Added

Steen, Lynn Arthur and Seebach, J. Arthur Jr., **Counterexamples in Topology**, Dover, 1995 (orig. 1978),

ISBN 0 486 68735 X

[general topology; 17 Nov 2008]

Reference. Very well organized, with many charts of relationships.

Willard, Stephen. **General Topology**, Dover, 2004 (orig. 1970).

ISBN 0 486 43479 6.

[general topology; 17 Nov 2008]

Textbook and reference. Well-written. Copious historical references and notes.

## Leave a Reply