In most major universities one of the three or four basic first-year graduate mathematics courses is algebraic topology. This introductory text is suitable for use in a course on the subject or for self-study, featuring broad coverage and a readable exposition, with many examples and exercises. The four main chapters present the basics: fundamental group and covering spaces, homology and cohomology, higher homotopy groups, and homotopy theory generally. The author emphasizes the geometric aspects of the subject, which helps students gain intuition. A unique feature is the inclusion of many optional topics not usually part of a first course due to time constraints: Bockstein and transfer homomorphisms, direct and inverse limits, H-spaces and Hopf algebras, the Brown representability theorem, the James reduced product, the Dold-Thom theorem, and Steenrod squares and powers.
"Algebraic topoligy books that emphasize geometrical intuition usually have only a modest technical reach. Remarkably, Hatcher (Cornell Univ.) offers a highly geometrical treatment that neverheless matches the coverage of, e.g., Edwin Henry Spanier's very formidable and identically titled classic work... He promises two advanced companion volumes, one on spectral sequences, one on vector bundles. One anticipates the combined treatise doing for algebraic topology...