Description: DeGowin's is considered one of the first books on diagnosis, and the one most physicians trained in the last 40 years grew up with. With this edition, the authors continue the unparalleled tradition of providing a comprehensive, understandable way to approach a patient.
Purpose: The authors state that a clinician must have four essential attributes: knowledge, skill, experience, and judgment. This book provides the tools to acquire all four. This remains the seminal text for the study of obtaining a history and performing a physical examination.
Audience: Although aimed at those in training, medical students and residents, this is a superb book for anyone studying medicine and, just as importantly, those who have forgotten some of the things they learned back in their training. The authors and reviewers are mostly faculty members of the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and are experts in their specialties.
Features: The book is organized by organ systems and each chapter outlines the basic anatomy and physiology with intuitive graphics to help understand the system. The specifics of examining the structures follow, and the interspersed "Key Findings" statements are of great help. A tremendous addition is the full-text download for mobile devices such as PDA or smart phones. I was impressed with the ease of use and utility of this option. A section of full-color photographs does not include every possible disease, but the photos are highly appropriate for the more generalized diagnostic examination goal of the book. The authors have done a wonderful job of choosing what is appropriate.
Assessment: This is plainly one of the best books ever written on performing a physical examination. It should be in the library of teaching institutions and in the personal libraries of clinicians.