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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Ronald S. Miller, MD (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Description: This is a 113-page biographical dictionary of scientists and clinicians who have made seminal discoveries and other important contributions to medicine.
Purpose: The purpose is to identify or describe some of the men and women who have made especially notable advances in medicine throughout the last 100 years. Clearly, this is a worthy objective, though a truly comprehensive dictionary is likely to be achieved only after a second or third edition is published.
Audience: The contribution of each is concisely summarized, usually in a single sentence. This brevity might frustrate a historian, but it is a virtue for medical students, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who wish to know the primary contributions of famous persons in medicine, many of whom are eponymous (i.e., have a disease or a symptom or sign named after them). The book is not so technical as to be difficult for a lay audience to understand and enjoy.
Features: There are photographs or drawings of many entrants, which adds to one's enjoyment of the book. This alphabetical compendium of the greats in medicine is an important reference, as the author states, for "all those interested in the practice and history of medicine."
Assessment: Like any dictionary this book is not intended to be read as a novel, though some will enjoy browsing through the pages and reading about individuals whose names are familiar (or at least it seems as if they should be).