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From time to time the International Journal of Fracture has presented matters thought to be of special interest to its readers. In previous special issues (December 1980 and April 1981), Dr H.W. Liu as Guest Editor presented a series of review papers dealing with fatigue processes and characteristics in metals and non-metals. Continuing this policy, which is consistent with our stated objectives, a second review dealing with time depen dence in the fracture process, including the effect of material inertia but essentially excluding very strong shock effects in solids, has been assembled under the generic term "dynamic fracture". We hope that the ensuing state-of-the-art review will yield an instructive and timely product which readers will find useful. To assist us in presenting this subject, we have prevailed upon a well-known worker in dynamic fracture, Dr W.G. Knauss, Professor of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics, California Institute of Technology to act as Guest Editor for this special double issue. On behalf of the editors and publisher, I wish to express our indebtedness to Professor Knauss and his invited authors for undertaking this special effort.