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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the second edition of a textbook of basic immunology. The first edition was published in 1990. This edition was published in 1997 and reprinted in 1999. It is not clear whether any changes have been made in this new printing, but the information appears to be up to date.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide information on the organization and function of the human immune system. The book is divided so that in the first part organs and tissues are covered, then discussion progresses to cells and then molecules. In the second part the cell types involved in immune responses and the specific normal and abnormal immune responses are discussed. This approach is perhaps slightly different from other texts although nothing appears to be lacking.
Audience: The authors do not target a particular audience. The book would be suitable as a reference for someone familiar with the subject who might need some specific information as well as graduate students and fellows who are taking courses. It may elicit a mixed response from medical and dental students who may find more basic information and less immunopathology than they would like. The authors are authorities in their subject and the book reflects their expertise.
Features: The book represents a complete survey of immunology. It even includes a few words on the neuroendocrine system and its relationship to the immune system, which is still lacking in many texts. Although each reader is likely to find areas that are particularly well done, the sections on the development of stem cells, antigens, adhesion molecules, and details of he MHC deserve mention. All references are reviews rather than the primary literature. The artwork is limited in color but well done. Although immunopathologic issues are discussed, they receive less attention than the more descriptive aspects of the normal immune system.
Assessment: This is an excellent textbook for graduate students and fellows as well as a good reference for those who are more familiar with immunology. There is a wealth of information on basic immune mechanisms. The narrative is generally easy to read. It is well illustrated although the variety of colors used is limited. Given the changes in immunology since the first edition was published, a new edition is appropriate.