This book is motivated by the problem of determining the set of rational points on a variety, but its true goal is to equip readers with a broad range of tools essential for current research in algebraic geometry and number theory. The book is unconventional in that it provides concise accounts of many topics instead of a comprehensive account of just one—this is intentionally designed to bring readers up to speed rapidly. Readers who want to learn more about a particular topic can still do so, however, by following the references suggested in each section. Among the topics included are Brauer groups, faithfully flat descent, algebraic groups, torsors, étale and fppf cohomology, the Weil conjectures, and the Brauer–Manin and descent obstructions. A final chapter applies all these to study the arithmetic of surfaces.
The down-to-earth explanations and the over 100 exercises make the book suitable for use as a graduate-level textbook, but even experts will appreciate having a single source covering many aspects of geometry over an unrestricted ground field and containing some material that cannot be found elsewhere.