In the 12 years that have passed since the publication of Riintgenspektren und chemische Bindung, the original German work on which· this text is based, several aspects of high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy have devel oped rapidly. After accepting the suggestion of Dr. R.D. Deslattes that a translation should be prepared, we thoroughly revised the book in order to include these recent developments in theory, equipment and applications. The latest reSearch results and publications that had appeared by 1987/1988 have been taken into account in the analysis. However, as the general treatment of the German edition is still valid today, the organization of the contents did -not have to be modified. The present status of the field is adequately described just by the addition of supplementary material in the English edition. We have merely rearranged what was previously Chapter 4 into tabular form and placed it as an appendix. This presentation produces greater clarity and increases the ease with which the information can be referred to. We thank Dr. E. Kallne for undertaking the translation. We are grate ful to Dr. R.D. Deslattes and Dr. H. Lotsch for their conscientious and critical checking of the translation. Chapters 3 and 6 were updated by our colleague Dr. H. Sommer, to whom special thanks are due. It is our hope that this transiation and revision will make our text available to a larger section of the scientific community.