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From 1960 until 1990 theoretical physicists and experimentalists worked together to probe deeper and deeper into the basic structure of matter, moving closer to an understanding of the ultimate building blocks of the universe. Gerard 't Hooft was closely involved in many of the advances in modern theoretical physics that led to improved understanding of elementary particles, and this is a first-hand account of one of the most creative and exciting periods of discovery in the history of physics. Using language a layperson can understand, this narrative touches on many central topics and ideas, such as quarks and quantum physics; supergravity, superstrings and superconductivity; the Standard Model and grand unification; eleven-dimensional space time and black holes. This fascinating personal account of the past thirty years in one of the most dramatic areas in twentieth-century physics will be of interest to professional physicists and physics students, as well as the educated general reader with an interest in one of the most exciting scientific detective stories ever.