Leonard Cohen was recently asked to write a preface to his novel Beautiful Losers, which was being translated into Chinese. He ended this preface with the following plea to his Chinese readership: ‘Please forgive me if I have wasted your time.’ When the publisher asked me to consider a second edition of Understanding Disability I had a similar reaction. After all, I had retired five years ago and, with one or two exceptions, had not read a book or written anything significant about disability. I was determined not to become a ‘ghost’ professor haunting my old colleagues and adversaries from somewhere beyond my ivory tower, secure in the knowledge that my emeritus status and ageing profile would keep me safe from the worst excesses of academic debate and vitriolic criticism. So my initial reaction was that such a venture would be a waste of your time and mine.
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