Description: This is an update of a comprehensive textbook of dermatology. The previous edition was published in 1999.
Purpose: The authors aim to provide an all-encompassing, state-of-the-art review of dermatology and to describe the biologic basis for diseases of the skin. These are worthy objectives and they are, for the most part, met.
Audience: The book is written for dermatologists, both residents and practitioners. It is probably too detailed for the nondermatologist. Each chapter is written by a different author and all are credible authorities.
Features: In its 280 chapters, the book covers the entire spectrum of dermatology, including clinical information as well as basic science. The first part of the book consists of a discussion of the biology and development of skin. The remaining parts cover disorders presenting in the skin, infectious diseases, and therapeutics. What is best about this book is that it is truly all-inclusive and encyclopedic, i.e., one can use it to look up almost any skin disorder, no matter how rare. In this respect, it is useful to both residents just learning dermatology as well as to seasoned practitioners and is a valuable reference. The illustrations, which are so important in this visual specialty, are all high quality and in color. There is a new chapter on skin findings in the immunosuppressed host and updated chapters on dermatologic diseases as potential agents of bioterrorism. The biggest shortcoming of this book is its organization, especially the fact that it is two volumes. Although this seems to be a minor point, every time you look something up, you never know whether to pull out volume I or volume II, because there is no clear cut delineation between the two. As the book has almost 3,000 pages, pulling out both volumes at once is cumbersome. Organization would be much improved if all of the basic science, therapeutics, and surgery sections were in one volume (as these sections are not frequently needed), and all of the clinical dermatology in another. A second shortcoming is the great amount of space devoted to basic science, at the expense of the presentation of some clinical entities, some of which are incomplete. For instance, there is no photo and only a short paragraph devoted to pemphigus foliaceus and no clinical photo of lichen striatus. I recently had to look up myiasis and found only a brief paragraph, yet I was able to find a comprehensive discussion in a textbook half the size of this one.
Assessment: Despite the aforementioned shortcomings, the quality and usefulness of this book is unsurpassed and it is a must for the library of every dermatologist.