This Memoir is based on the author's doctoral dissertation. There have
been the following changes, hopefully to improve the paper. The material of
the first three chapters is essentially unchanged, only the last section of
Chapter II has been added. Although the proofs of the main results of
Chapter III are the same, the arrangement is different. Thanks to the
referee's criticism, the (a priori) insufficient dimension hypotheses of the
equivariant thickening theorem are changed to fit the proof. We added a
section on the connection between the equivariant thickenings and equivariant
surgery, hopefully to justify why we have employed "tangential" rather than
more common "normal maps". Chapter IV has undergone only minor modifications,
and Chapter V is unchanged. I am grateful to the referee for his comments
and careful reading of the manuscript.
In the past three years since the earlier version of this manuscript
was written, there have been interesting new developments. We have added
Chapter VI in which we have indicated briefly some of these developments
which are somehow related to the theme of the present work.
I am indebted to many friends and colleagues for their comments and
interest in my work. My special thanks to Bill Browder for his continuing
support, encouragement, and stimulating conversations which have taught me so
much. I have had the pleasure of having helpful and stimulating conversa-
tions with Doug Anderson, Dan Burghelea, Ian Hambleton, and Georgia
Triantafillou, to whom I wish to express my gratitude. I am particularly
grateful to Mrs. Joyce Stevens who has done such a beautiful job in typing
and correcting this version of the manuscript and to Mrs. Elaine Haste who
has prepared the camera-ready typing for this issue of Memoirs.
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