Any naive thoughts I might once have entertained about the romance of
writing for a living are long gone. But I do take real plea sure in thanking
the wonderful people who made this book possible. I cannot adequately
express my gratitude to my wife, Megan, whose patience and encour-
agement throughout the long gestation of this book was saintly—if not
exactly boundless— and to my children (and now grandchildren) who pro-
vided the necessary inspiration for a reluctant author insufficiently moti-
vated by reputation and career.
I remember reading somewhere that we academics are only as good as
our intellectual communities. In this regard, I am fortunate to have very
smart and very generous colleagues. Although I haven’t always been able
to mea sure up to their high expectations, my sincere efforts to stay in
their good graces have made this book much better than it might other-
wise have been. My longtime friend and sometime collaborator, Pablo
Piccato, read through two different versions of the manuscript. His en-
viable ability to keep up on the latest scholarship helped me fill in gaps
in my own, his unsparing commentary helped me avoid several serious
errors of judgment, and his steadfast encouragement helped keep me on
track while I fixed them as best I could. Another dear friend and collabo-
rator, Eithne Luibhéid, gave me the courage, guidance, and support nec-
essary to push beyond my disciplinary training while providing a fresh
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