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Editor's Introduction

When Oxford University Press sent us the three enormous volumes of Irwin's The Development of Ethics, we had two thoughts: First, the book is very important and demands a review; second, since human sacrifice is abolished in North America, it will be very difficult to find a reviewer. We handed the volumes to several interested persons, who in the end returned the books saying the task was beyond them. Then, my wife, a lifetime worker at that center of communal thought, the United Nations, suggested that we form a team to review the book. We put an announcement out on the Web, asking for reviewers to do a chapter each, at 250 words a review. We got several hundred volunteers, and chose 82 to review the 96 chapters of Irwin (reviewers got the chapters in Portable Document Format [PDFs], kindly supplied by Oxford). We got 81 of 82 reviews, 75 before the deadline, six slightly later. For purposes of completeness, I filled in the sole missing review. Would that the students in my seminars were so punctual! I would like to thank Elyse Turr at Oxford University Press for the PDFs, and my 82 reviewers for their expertise and diligence. I am grateful to all the volunteers who showed an interest in this strange and perhaps unprecedented project, and who patiently endured the vetting process. Special thanks is due to Laura di Summa, who coordinated all the pieces of this incredible puzzle. Did we accomplish something, something new, by mobilizing 82 minds to review one book? I hope so, but I can now only say what they say on television: “America, it's up to you.”