To the beginner, the brain and spinal cord all too often appear discouragingly complex in form and function. This book is intended for those who have virtually no knowledge of the central nervous system but wish to comprehend quickly and relatively painlessly the most essential principles of how it is constructed and the way it works. The book has been written primarily for undergraduate students of the biomedical sciences and for veterinary students in particular. Much of it is designed to provide a structural and functional insight into how the system might fail and how damaged components might be recognized. The discussions are based on a generalized mammal, with occasional specific details of man and domestic animals. The core material exploits every possible way of saving time and labour in grasping the basic aspects of structure and function. More advanced passages are relevant to research students, or to clinicians especially those in veterinary practice.