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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This immunology book was first published in 1971 with the two intervening editions published in 1978 and 1985. With the exception of Dr. Bellanti, the editor, the chapters in this fourth edition have been authored by different individuals depending on their expertise, and most chapters are multiauthored. Although the book covers what would be expected in any textbook of immunology, this one goes into greater detail, particularly with respect to the immune system and disease.
Purpose: The purpose is to present the latest research findings and clinical applications in the field of immunology. In an attempt to provide the most up-to-date information available, the chapters are written by experts in each area. Although the basic principles of immunology and the mechanisms of the immune response may be well described in several recently published books, the chapters devoted to clinical applications in this one have a greater depth than a number of the standard books.
Audience: This could be used by medical and dental students, residents, and fellows, in addition to anyone who wishes to have access to a detailed textbook of immunology. However, at over 1,000 pages, the book is fairly heavy, so it is less likely that it will appeal to students. That's unfortunate, since it is written by authorities and provides a lot of information that they will inevitably need.
Features: The book is divided into three major sections covering principles of immunology, mechanisms of response, and clinical applications. The first section represents a fairly standard approach to the subject, although it includes topics that might be expected to show up in other sections, such as autoimmunity. The second section focuses on immune responses to microorganisms. The third section deals primarily with specific diseases as well as laboratory techniques. Each chapter is more detailed than might be expected in a basic immunology textbook, but that makes it suitable for anyone from medical students through physicians preparing for recertification. The book has many nice features, including an attractive visual glossary, learning objectives for each chapter, a case study that defines the general topic to be discussed, and excellent illustrations. At chapter end, the clinical relevance of the case study is discussed and the key points of the chapter are summarized. Finally there are study questions and a suggested reading list. Appendix I describes memory hooks and acronyms. Appendix II is a list of cytokines and chemokines, and Appendix III is a list of CD molecules. The index appears to be adequate. Associated with the book is a website that will be updated and includes access to the text and illustrations as well as animations and additional questions to be used to assess the reader's knowledge.
Assessment: This large and complete textbook of immunology has more material in it than the average course requires, but it could serve as a resource for students, residents, fellows, and physicians studying for recertification. It makes a wonderful reference for course instructors. The book is well written and, presumably, input from the editor provided the apparent consistency in style from chapter to chapter.