Contested histories 1

August 29, 2003

One excuse proffered by the publisher of the history of the University of Southampton for cutting my contribution was that I was "elderly" ("A hairy tale of how plum jobs can go sour", THES , August 15).

If he means that I remember a time when a historian was not expected to agree to a distorted and bowdlerised history appearing under his name, he is right.

Prior to the university spin doctors going to work on my manuscript, the publisher wrote: "I think you have done a superb job in distilling what must have been a mass of daunting information into an elegant narrative. In many ways the research passages - particularly oceanography and fibre optics - are the best of the (overall first-class) book."

He seems to have a curiously short memory for one so young.

Thomas Hinde
West Sussex

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