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Response to Review of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine

I am delighted to accept Dr Ian Miller's intelligent review of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine. I particularly appreciate his recognition of the aims of the book and his careful and constructive comments on individual chapters. He is right to suggest at the end of his review that there are some aspects of the history of medicine that are not fully covered in the book. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the contents represent my own, perhaps idiosyncratic, views on the key features of recent developments within, and the future direction of, the field. In part, I wanted to move away from established areas and familiar questions. Second, the selection of topics was dictated partly by the availability of authors. It was extremely difficult to find contributors who were willing to write on particular topics and several authors withdrew at late stages of the process. Of course, writing chapters of this nature is not always a priority for British scholars eager to boost their return to REF 2014. Synthetic books such as this therefore depend heavily on the generosity of academic colleagues. Finally, I had hoped that some of the topics raised by Dr Miller would be included in some ways within other chapters. In some cases, this worked fairly well, but I accept that the book still lacks extensive coverage of some aspects of the discipline. With hindsight, I particularly regret not exploring the history of technology in more detail. Editing the book was a pleasure. It expanded my own knowledge of the field beyond previously narrow personal horizons and allowed me to work collaboratively with some excellent colleagues. I hope that the book serves the next generation of scholars well.