The twelve large volumes of Gauss's collected works do not offer easy access to the historian. There is a huge amount of material, and most of it is in Latin. Gauss's style is notoriously forbidding and dense. If one is looking for something specific, a lot of time can be spent looking at the wrong paper.
This little volume offers an easier way to approach Gauss's works. It turns out that Gauss himself wrote abstracts of most of his publications, in German, for the Göttingischen Gelehrten Anziegen (GGA). This volume collects all 31 of these, with dates ranging from 1807 to 1859, together with information on where each of the papers appears in the edition of the collected works. In addition, it includes two reviews of earlier works: a note by Abraham Kästner, also from the GGA, on Gauss's dissertation (his first proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra), and a review by Louis Poinsot (in French) of the Disquisitiones Arithmeticae.
The result is a very interesting little book, one that historians will appreciate and use.
Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College.