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One of the principal goals declared by the author of this volume was to establish the connection between the mechanical hardness numbers and the physics of the chemical bonds in quantitative and simple ways. In the past, this has not been achieved in the effective manner as the commonly involved atomic processes have not been properly an fully identified. Though it is still true for the cases of the complex atomic structures, the author of the title believes that the relatively simple prototype cases are duly understood today. It should be taken into consideration, however, that the associated mechanisms change with the types of the chemical bonding. And no universal chemical mechanism exists there to determine the mechanical hardness. The author has made an attempt to develop the proper understanding of the plastic deformation and hardness; this is definitely not a straightforward task as the literature sources covering this subject is still partly confused. The chapters of the volume cover the indentation and plastic deformation, covalent semiconductors and chemical bonding, transition metals, ionic and molecular crystals, glasses and polymers, chemical and hot hardness, simple alloys and metals, inter-metallic compounds, hard metals and "superhard" materials, actually everything one will require to be aware of...