You are about to begin reading a scientific book unusual in many respects. The first part of the volume is a translation from Russian of the book On Dexterity and Its Development written about 50 years ago by one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, Nicholai Aleksandrovich Bernstein. This book was not published at the time it was written because of the internal political situation in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (you can read more about this period of Russian history in the chapter by I. M. Feigenberg and L. P. Latash). For a long time it was believed that the book had been destroyed; however, this was not the case. Fortunately, the severity of the laws of the Soviet Union was softened by their notorious ineffectiveness, and one of Bernstein's students, Professor I. M. Feigenberg, found the manuscript and restored the book. The book was eventually published in 1991, 25 years after the death of its author.
Very few scientific works remain interesting to the reader 50 years after they were written. This rule is particularly true for books in which the authors try to present the state of a scientific field in a popular style, understandable not only to professionals but also to people who are generally curious but lack the particular scientific background, including college and even high-school students. Bernstein's work, however, is a rare exception to this rule, and we are sure that you will enjoy it as much as it would have been enjoyed in the 1940s had it been published at that time.
Bernstein's original book, presented in Part I, was directed at a wide audience ranging from specialists in biomechanics and motor behavior to coaches, neurologists, physical therapists, athletes, and even inquisitive college and high-