The finite element method is a numerical method widely used in engineering. Experience shows that unreliable computation can lead to very serious consequences. Hence reliability questions stand more and more at the forefront of engineering and theoretical interests. The present book presentsthe mathematical theory of the finite element method and focuses on the question of how reliable computed results really are. It addresses among other topics the local behaviour, errors caused by pollution, superconvergence, and optimal meshes. Many computational examples illustrate the importanceof the theoretical conclusions for practical computations. Graduate students, lecturers, and researchers in mathematics, engineering, and scientific computation will benefit from the clear structure of the book, and will find this a very useful reference.