This introduction to algebraic number theory via the famous problem of "Fermats Last Theorem" follows its historical development, beginning with the work of Fermat and ending with Kummers theory of "ideal" factorization. The more elementary topics, such as Eulers proof of the impossibilty of x+y=z, are treated in an uncomplicated way, and new concepts and techniques are introduced only after having been motivated by specific problems. The book also covers in detail the application of Kummers theory to quadratic integers and relates this to Gauss'theory of binary quadratic forms, an interesting and important connection that is not explored in any other book.
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This book is a genetic introduciton to algebraic number theory which follows the development of the subject in the work of Fermat, Kummer and others, motivating new ideas and techniques by explaining the problems which led to their creation. The central problem is the one indicated in the title, but many other basic questions of algebraic number thoery are also treated.
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