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From The CriticsReviewer: Howard M. Kravitz, DO, MPH (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is the revised and updated version of this classic text on manic-depressive illness (MDI). First published in 1990, it was a "unique contribution to the literature on MDI." This edition has been expanded to consider spectrum diagnoses as well as recurrent depression. Its foundation is "the inclusive Kraepelinian concept of MDI," covering "all of the recurrent major mood disorders."
Purpose: Expanding the first edition's comprehensive and interpretive review of the scientific literature on MDI, the purpose of this second edition is to "help improve diagnosis and treatment for those who suffer from the illness" and to be "a resource for research."
Audience: The targeted audience is psychiatric clinicians and researchers, and other mental health professionals, trainees, and students with a serious interest in and/or desiring the most comprehensive coverage of the manic-depressive/bipolar spectrum, as the authors define it.
Features: Assisted by "close colleagues with various specialized interests" who have "added their expertise," the principal authors, Goodwin and Jamison, have labored long to "preserve the unity and structure" of the first edition and avoid the unevenness found in textbooks that try to integrate the contributions of many individuals. The result is a physically larger book approximately 200 pages longer than its predecessor. The subtitle ("Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression") is new. Its five sections follow the general structure of the first edition — clinical description and diagnosis, clinical studies, psychology/neuropsychology, pathophysiology, treatment — with the expected changes in emphasis and balance in the content of individual chapters (the scientific study of bipolar disorder has expanded greatly in 17 years!). References, recent through 2006, all are listed by chapter at the end of the book, making them more difficult to access and unnecessarily lengthening the references section by duplicating those cited in multiple chapters. A single alphabetical listing at the end of the book would have been a more sensible approach.
Assessment: As stated in the foreword, "to attempt a repeat of their efforts in a new edition was an enormous challenge...." Much has been learned about bipolar disorders and its spectrum since 1990. This definitive text on MDI/bipolar disorders documents what we have learned circa 2006, presents it clearly and logically, and should stimulate serious students of these disorders to seek and learn more. However, new knowledge continues to accrue and we can't wait another 17 years for the next edition — a mechanism for e-version updating would be welcomed. Finally, the price is affordable in these days of exorbitant textbook costs.