The idea for this book was born at the June 1996 meeting of the IDEAL Steering Committee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We had just completed a successful and stimulating special symposium during the annual meeting of the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography, and enthusiasm was running high for the production of a volume that could assemble in one place the scientific findings that were starting to emerge from East Africa. IDEAL, an International Decade for the East African Lakes, had ended one round of field investigations, many of which had been centered on Lake Victoria. As the climatologists, geologists, paleolimnologists, and biologists displayed their results and debated interpretations, it appeared that some paradigms were shifting, and that new explanations of climate history and modem processes were taking shape. The Steering Committee endorsed the production of a volume that would draw together the different research results that were emerging and which would be representative of the scope of science issues that exist within IDEAL.This book follows in the spirit of The Limnology, Climatology, and Paleoclimatology of the East African Lakes, published in 1996, but has a somewhat different purpose. The previous publication also included original science results, but it was conceived to review the state of knowledge, identify critical problems, and point to new paths of inquiry. It accompanied the development of our first Science and Implementation Plan for the East African Lakes.