It has long since become the convention to preface a work with a page
or two of acknowledgments. Indeed, so standard is this practice that one
could be forgiven for thinking that it has become somewhat of an empty
ritual. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. We now live in
an age where academics labor under a system which places on them tre-
mendous pressure to publish, and yet one which at the same time denies
them much of the time needed to do so. Thus, those academics who take
the time to proofread the work of their colleagues stand to risk delaying
their own research and publications, thereby harming their own careers
through this sacrifice of time. It is therefore all the more commendable
and heartening to find academics who are prepared to read over one’s work.
It is with this in mind that I extend my fullest appreciation to Professor
John F. Drinkwater for his constant help, advice, and friendship over the
past decade, and in particular concerning this book. I would also like to
thank Professor Neil McLynn, a colleague and a friend, for all that he has
done for me in terms of my career in general and this book. In addition,
professors Gregory Hadley, William Snell, and Charles De Wolf, all busy
academics with careers of their own, are deserving of my sincerest grati-
tude for devoting what precious little time they have to spare to proofread-
ing my manuscript. (Needless to say, any remaining errors are entirely my
own responsibility.)
A second group of people without whom this book could not have been
completed is the librarians at various institutions I have visited. It was my
privilege to work for two years at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library and
to have been a reader there for more than a decade now. Like that other
great British institution, the National Health Service, it too is constantly
asked to perform miracles while being underfunded and understaffed.
Both institutions are currently called upon to function on a scale far be-
yond that which they were originally designed and intended for, and both
face criticism on the few occasions they fail yet receive scant praise for
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