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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the eighth edition of a well regarded basic textbook for undergraduate and graduate students in immunology that also would be appropriate for medical students, dental students, and those who simply need a reference. The book focuses strongly on the host's interaction with an environment of normal microbes and pathogens. It is. The previous edition was published in 2008.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a book that is suitable both for students who are taking their first course in immunology and for advanced students. That should be the purpose of any basic textbook and it has been achieved. With the expansion of knowledge about the immune and inflammatory systems, an updated edition is necessary.
Audience: Although the book is written for students, it also could be used by residents and physicians. The author is an authority in the field and has obtained input from a number of well respected immunologists from throughout the world.
Features: The chapter list represents all of the topics that are covered in a general immunology course. Information has been updated throughout the book reflecting expanding knowledge in the discipline. For example, the information on innate immunity has been significantly increased. This is presented in the order in which the immune system responds to infection. Signaling pathways are presented as they appear rather than in one chapter. It will be interesting to discover whether this is more helpful to students than a single chapter describing signaling. Mucosal immunity, which has always been well covered in this book, has been expanded again, reflecting the increasing knowledge that we have of this aspect of the immune system. Each chapter is followed by a series of questions designed, if used properly, to force a student to determine whether information has really been absorbed. There are also references at the end of each chapter, both general as well as section references. The art work is very colorful but also highly stylized. There are four appendixes. The first focuses on brief descriptions of the techniques commonly used by immunologists in the laboratory. The others list CD antigens, cytokines, and their receptors, and chemokines and their receptors. There is also an extensive glossary. In addition, there are online instructor and student resource sites. The instructor site offers the images from the book, animations and videos, and lecture outlines that can be customized. Student resources include the animations and videos, flashcards that can be used to review key terms, and the glossary from the book. Finally, there are ample spaces on most pages for students to add notes.
Assessment: Over the years, this has evolved into a very fine basic textbook. It is well ordered and as complete as possible given that immunology is an ever-changing discipline. There are a few outstanding textbooks on the market and why an instructor chooses one over another is probably primarily a matter of personal taste or perhaps just habit. However, one would not make a mistake choosing this carefully designed book as the primary textbook for a course.