This book relates to adult basic education in developing countries; it is in part historical enquiry and in part policy and practice. The approach is an ethnographic one to adult education and the book was compiled over a total of 14 years while teaching NFE to masters students at the University of Reading and conducting field visits to many 'developing' countries on funded adult education programmes. The book is being used by UNESCO, ADEA and others in the construction and evaluation of NFE. It was refereed by Hong Kong University before publication. The book is used in Masters training courses, since there is no current textbook on NFE. It led directly to a commission from UNESCO GMR team to lead a twenty country survey of NFE, the papers of which will shortly be placed on the GMR website.