Shales and mudstones are the most poorly understood sedimentary rock type. They comprise approximately two thirds of the stratigraphic column and contain the bulk of recorded earth history. In the future, understanding shales will be crucial for a wide variety of studies. Yet, getting a balanced perspective of research on these fascinating rocks is difficult because it is dispersed over so many subdisciplines. The two volumes of this book present up to date research on a wide range of topics in shale geology, and were assembled with the goal to ease access to this engaging field of research. Chapter introductions were written by experts in their field, and are intended to define the state of the art, to provide access to pertinent literature, and to set the stage for the corresponding research papers. Volume I covers basin-scale analysis, sedimentology and paleontology of shales. Volume II supplements this perspective with detailed treatments of petrography, burial history, petrophysics, geochemistry, and economic aspects of shales. The broad coverage of topics should make this book a valuable source of information for those that want to keep informed about current developments in shale research, and a source of inspiration for those interested to enter this exciting field of study.