This book is a comprehensive treatment of star formation, one of the most active fields of modern astronomy. The reader is guided through the subject in a logically compelling manner. Starting from a general description of stars and interstellar clouds, the authors delineate the earliest phases of stellar evolution. They discuss formation activity not only in the Milky Way, but also in other galaxies, both now and in the remote past. Theory and observation are thoroughly integrated, with the aid of numerous figures and images. In summary, this volume is an invaluable resource, both as a text for physics and astronomy graduate students, and as a reference for professional scientists.