After a forty-year lull, the study of word-values in groups has sprung back into life with some spectacular new results in finite group theory. These are largely motivated by applications to profinite groups, including the solution of an old problem of Serre. This book presents a comprehensive account of the known results, both old and new. The more elementary methods are developed from scratch, leading to self-contained proofs and improvements of some classic results about infinite soluble groups. This is followed by a detailed introduction to more advanced topics in finite group theory, and a full account of the applications to profinite groups. The author presents proofs of some very recent results and discusses open questions for further research. This self-contained account is accessible to research students, but will interest all research workers in group theory.
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