All who are interested in exploring man's past to trace his earliest thoughts, dreams, and actions to the end of shedding more light on his present behavior, will find this study fascinatingly interesting. Monsieur Eliade attempts to gain an understanding of the behavior of primitive societies in relation to matter, and to follow the spiritual adventures in which they become involved as they become aware of their power, through fire, to change the mode of being of substances. Here we find the myths, rites and symbols peculiar to the craft of the miner, smith and metal worker, as they have helped to fashion the cultures and shape the dreams of men of all ethnic origin. We trace the development of man as he learns to transmute nature, accelerate its processes, and thus control Time, and we are led to see the way in which the efforts of modern man to master Nature and Time, except for its secularization, are related to the work of the early alchemists. This book, translated from the French, is well documented. Any serious student of man will be well rewarded for the effort expended, and demanded, by this solid exposition of an unusual subject.