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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This comprehensive biochemical text covers all aspects of modern biochemistry, together with many new developments since the previous edition of four years ago.
Purpose: The goal is to provide students with a thorough biochemistry text. Given the overall importance of modern biochemistry (broadly writ), this is a worthwhile objective. In general, the goals are met.
Audience: The target audience includes senior undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. The authors are both knowledgeable and experienced.
Features: There are several comprehensive biochemistry texts available. The fourth edition of Lehninger draws on a successful history initiated with the first edition which was a landmark text in its time. The 28 chapters follow an expected and logical progression from discussion of the fundamental molecules involved in cellular events through metabolism to the latest aspects of molecular biology. Illustrations are well done and frequent. Each chapter is accompanied by a short but useful bibliography and a set of problems. Problem answers are at the end, together with a detailed glossary and a thorough index. In an attempt to capture as broad a student audience as possible, discussions of both photosynthesis and metabolic diseases are offered. Thus, the material can be used in undergraduate/graduate courses as well as in medical school. As with other representatives of this text style, the typical student is likely to have some difficulty assigning relative importance to a given item considering the overall depth of coverage of topics. Nevertheless, careful reading with some guidance will be rewarding for most scholars and the book will serve as companion text for the usual biochemistry course. The bibliography is not as complete as some, but will provide pointers to additional material. A useful, albeit formidable (for the student) contribution.
Assessment: This is yet another mega-text, seeking to satisfy all audiences. Not easy for the average student to read, but all of the material is there. Competitors include Voet and Voet, Biochemistry, 3rd edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2004); Devlin, Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations, 6th edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2006) (medical focus); and Metzler, The Chemical Reactions of Living Cells, 2nd edition (Elsevier, 2003) (somewhat more comprehensive with an extraordinary bibliography). Is the new edition needed?? Probably, but most students will still be able to use the earlier version. Conversely, other publishers put out new editions, so this one has to.