My pleasure at being sent for review this collection of papers on symbolism in mathematics was somewhat diminished when I saw that the first article was by Josette Adda and the last by Derek Woodrow. This was not due to any lack of respect for these two authors; rather, it indicated that readers were being offered not a structured survey of the problems of symbolism within mathematics education but an ad hoc collection of articles arranged alphabetically by author. In fact, although the nine articles vary considerably in quality, the overall standard is quite high, and any mathematics educator will find two or three of interest. Nevertheless, I very much felt the absence of a framework that would help the reader to identify more clearly the sa lient problems and to recognize fruitful avenues for research. In particular, the actual role of symbols within mathematics and within mathematical activity would seem to me to be given insufficient attention, although, almost of necessity, most authors touch on it.