This book originated in 1957 when I, then senior lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology and in the Department of Medicine at University College and Medical School London, told the Professor of Medicine that there was no book on Clinical Pharmacology that I could recommend to our medical students. He replied that if that was so then I should get down to it and write such a book. I doubted that I could accomplish the task. He marched me off to a nearby medical publisher and a contract was soon signed. Without this pressure and the long-sustained support of Max Rosenheim (later Lord Rosenheim of Camden and President of the Royal College of Physicians of London) this book would not have materialised in its first edition in 1960. Since that date, both in collaboration and alone, there have been eight editions. I am deeply grateful to my collaborators.

Now, after above 40 years with the book, and in my eightieth year, the time has come to stand aside.

I have seen too many elderly academics become unable, or unwilling, to recognise that they are no longer quite the people that they once were and that they have become an embarrassment to their younger colleagues, who are often too kind to enlighten them; though they may murmur behind their senior's back. I long ago decided that I must not join that group, and I hope I may just have escaped doing so.

Perhaps my greatest reward has been the kindness of people from all over the world who have taken the trouble to communicate to me that they have not only profited from, but have actually enjoyed, reading Clinical Pharmacology.

The world of clinical pharmacology has greatly changed since 1957 when I took up my pen, and I wish my successors well.

D R Laurence, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University College London

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