Preface vs. Foreward vs. Prologue

I started reading Buzz Bissinger’s book 3 Nights In August at lunch today and I noticed that the book has a preface, a foreword, and a prologue. I’ve seen this on one or two occasions in the past, but today it made me wonder two things:

1. What is the difference between a preface and a forward and a prologue? What function does each serve?
2. Which one should come first? (Pre means “before” and Fore means “in front” and Pro means “before” or “above”. What gives?

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.