Finally, perhaps the most profound alteration to the construction of this book in its fourth edition is that the revision has been the work of two rather than three of us. John Harper has very reasonably decided that the attractions of retirement and grand-fatherhood outweigh those of textbook co-authorship. For the two of us who remain, there is just one benefit: it allows us to record publicly not only what a great pleasure it has been to have collaborated with John over so many years, but also just how much we learnt from him. We cannot promise to have absorbed or, to be frank, to have accepted, every one of his views; and we hope in particular, in this fourth edition, that we have not strayed too far from the paths through which he has guided us. But if readers recognize any attempts to stimulate and inspire rather than simply to inform, to question rather than to accept, to respect our readers rather than to patronize them, and to avoid unquestioning obedience to current reputation while acknowledging our debt to the masters of the past, then they will have identified John's intellectual legacy still firmly imprinted on the text.

In previous editions we thanked the great many friends and colleagues who helped us by commenting on various drafts of the text. The effects of their contributions are still strongly evident in the present edition. This fourth edition was also read by a series of reviewers, to whom we are deeply grateful. Several remained anonymous and so we cannot thank them by name, but we are delighted to be able to acknowledge the help of Jonathan Anderson, Mike Bonsall, Angela Douglas, Chris Elphick, Valerie Eviner, Andy Foggo, Jerry Franklin, Kevin Gaston, Charles Godfray, Sue Hartley, Marcel Holyoak, Jim Hone, Peter Hudson, Johannes Knops, Xavier Lambin, Svata Louda, Peter Morin, Steve Ormerod, Richard Sibly, Andrew Watkinson, Jacob Weiner, and David Wharton. At Blackwell, and in the production stage, we were particularly helped and encouraged by Jane Andrew, Elizabeth Frank, Rosie Hayden, Delia Sandford and Nancy Whilton.

This book is dedicated to our families - by Mike to Linda, Jessica and Robert, and by Colin to Laurel, Dominic, Jenny and Brennan, and especially to the memory of his mother, Jean Evelyn Townsend.

Mike Begon Colin Townsend

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