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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Alvin Telser, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This is the third edition of a study guide, exam preparation, and board review book in the area of cell biology and histology. The second edition was published in 1993. This one is typical of books published in the Lange Medical series in appearance and in that a new edition is published triennially.
Purpose: The book is intended as a study guide for first-time histology students and as a review book to help them prepare for course and board exams. It is organized, illustrated, and written as a companion to another histology book by the same publisher, Basic Histology, by Junquiera et al. The author of this book places an appropriate high degree of emphasis on structure-function relationships. These are worthwhile objectives and are well achieved.
Audience: It is written primarily for first year medical/dental students and for second year students preparing for board exams. As such it is well targeted. It would not be very useful to graduate students or to more advanced medical or dental students. I do not know this author but he is generally competent in the subject area, judged by a fairly high degree of content accuracy.
Features: Illustrations are important in a book like this. The diagrams and line drawings are quite good. The light and electron micrographs are lacking in clarity as a result of the medium quality production of the text. The book would have benefited from more drawings but they may be omitted for brevity. No references are included, but the book would have benefited from a list of standard histology texts and recent major reviews of the content covered in the text. This book has several unique and helpful features: clear objectives at the beginning of each chapter; a comprehensive list of study focusing questions in each chapter; and a number of chapter specific as well as integrative questions in most chapters.
Assessment: This is a very well done book that many students should find useful. It is much more of a book to own and use than one to look for in a library. The tabular summaries in most chapters are well thought out and done. The questions are generally quite good, but they have two overall general shortcomings: (1) there is too much reliance on the "all the above" response, and (2) the references to chapter outline headings are distracting and contain several errors. Notwithstanding some shortcomings, this book should be on the list of recommended books for first-year medical and dental histology courses.