This well-illustrated handbook includes studies of many species but rodents dominate, as most of the brain investigations were done on these species. The leading idea of the handbook is that vocalizations evolved as highly adaptive specific signals, which are selectively picked up by the brain. The brain serves as a receptor and behavioural amplifier. Brain systems are described, which allow vocal signals rapidly changing the entire state of the organism and trigger vital biological responses, usually also with accompanying emission of vocalizations. Integrative brain functions leading to vocal outcome are described, along with the vocalization generators and motor output to larynx and other supportive motor subsystems. The last sections of the handbook explain bioacoustic structure of vocalizations, present understanding of information coding, and origins of the complex semiotic/semantic content of vocalizations in social mammals.