This review describes the fundamentals, instrumentation, applications and future trends of an analytical technique that is in its early stages of consolidation and is establishing its definitive niches among modern spectrometric techniques. The technique has been named Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and its main characteristic stands in the use of short laser pulses as the energy source to vaporize samples and excite the emission of electromagnetic radiation from its elements and/or molecular fragments. The emitted radiation is analyzed by high resolution optics and the intensities are recorded, usually by fast triggered solid state detectors. Together, these devices allow producing and registering a wide ranging emission spectrum of the short-lived phenomenon induced by the laser pulse. The spectrum contains qualitative and quantitative information which can be correlated with sample identity or can be used to determine the amount of its constituents. This review is divided in four parts. First, the relevant historical and theoretical concepts associated with LIBS are presented; then the main practical aspects of the several experimental and instrumental approaches employed for implementation of the technique are critically described; the applications related in the literature, including those making use of chemometrics, are classified and exemplified with relevant and recently published work. Finally, an attempt to portray an overall evaluation and future perspectives of the technique are presented.