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Response to Review no. 853

This is a thoughtful, intelligent review. As Professor Scales is aware,a work of the breadth of The Northern Lands inevitably has gaps and errors. Some of his critiques also occurred to me as weaknesses as I wrote the book, but keeping it all within a single volume required me to make unwelcome choices. Were Professor Scales – or any other author, for that matter – writing a book on this topic, he/she would of course have chosen a different central theme and handled the material differently.

It thus appears pointless to me to do a detailed rebuttal of some of his structural and analytical criticisms with which I do not agree, for example his suggestion that I do not pay sufficient attention to local variations and exceptions. His broader positions are reasonable, as are mine, but with the difference that I had to compress everything into 150,000 words. As I wrote at the conclusion of the preface (p. xii), ‘My hope has been … to establish a reasonable thesis that will be discussed, modified and amplified as scholarly understanding advances’.

Based on this review, I evidently succeeded.