It is now 10 years since I first wrote Understanding Criminology. During that time the discipline of criminology has grown apace as an area of study at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. When the idea for this book was first mooted, referees for the proposal expressed some concern that a book of this kind would result in the 'dumbing down' of the discipline. It was, therefore, with some interest that I read some of the reviews for the proposal for a third edition of this book. Several of those reviews expressed a concern that it was too advanced for use at first-year level. I leave the reader to conclude what might be taken from this shift in opinion, but I hope that, at whatever level this is read, it will constitute an interesting and valuable challenge for the reader. Moreover, I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers whose opinions were sought on the possibilities of a third edition. Their considered views have not always been followed but they were very much appreciated. In addition I would like to thank Laura Dent and Catriona Watson at McGraw-Hill/Open University Press for their help and support and, finally, Mike Maguire whose role and input as series editor over the last 10 years has been invaluable.
Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology
School of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Liverpool