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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This updated edition of a well-received textbook of immunology provides a general overview of the immune system with a focus on key concepts and less attention to the experimental underpinnings behind the science. The third edition was published in 2009.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide medical students and advanced undergraduate students an easy to read textbook that synthesizes the large amount of experimental data describing the immune system. Most immunology textbooks are either much more detailed or simply provide what is effectively a series of definitions and short descriptions. This book is readable and focused.
Audience: It is written primarily for medical students, whose didactic course material is ever increasing while the time devoted to presenting the material is decreasing. Although course directors and lecturers are likely to disagree, it probably includes the basic information that these students need particularly in the current climate of interdisciplinary courses. The authors are well-known immunologists whose publication records are enviable.
Features: The book focuses on cellular interactions and pays less attention to the many biochemical pathways describing these interactions. The emphasis is on normal immune responses in humans, although important clinical diseases are also described. Clinical cases that illustrate how immunologic principles can be applied to human disease are available in an appendix. The figures are excellent.
Assessment: The relatively limited but focused scope of this book obviously fulfills a need for students. It fills a specific niche and its utility depends primarily on how immunology is taught at a particular school. There are few major changes between the third edition and this update. The table of contents is organized more clearly and new material has been added on the biology of the Th17 subset. It is difficult to find other differences without reading every single page of both versions. Thus, it is probably not worth trading up to the updated edition if you already have the original third edition, but buying the old edition is unwise.