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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Mac Crawford, RN, MS, PhD (Ohio State University School of Public Health)
Description: This is the fourth edition of an introduction to biostatistics for readers who need basic statistical literacy (the third edition was published in 1992). The book broadly covers the essentials of a first course in biostatistics, but offers surprising detail for a primer.
Purpose: The purpose of the book is to provide a primary or supplementary text for a wide-ranging audience. The author translates his slide presentation on basic statistical concepts into a concise, easily read text. Dr. Glantz particularly wishes to highlight common misuses of statistics in the medical literature and assist the reader in coping with them. Such a book is clearly needed, and the author meets his objectives.
Audience: The author intends this book to be used by undergraduate, graduate, and professional students; postdoctoral researchers; professors; and practitioners. The book is probably too superficial for graduate students of epidemiology and biostatistics, but most people needing review or an introduction would benefit by reading it.
Features: Illustrations are appropriate to the discussion, simple to comprehend, and clearly labeled. References are predominantly from the 1970s (reflecting the first edition's 1981 publishing date), but the author liberally cites work from the 1980s and 1990s as well. The book is well-organized and attractively done. The font is pleasing to the eye and sufficiently large for most readers. One unique feature of the book is the integration of statistical tables into appropriate sections of the text, allowing the reader to follow examples and work exercises easily.
Assessment: This is a clearly written, useful book that conveys the basics of biostatistics effectively. The fourth edition includes a new chapter on survival analysis as well as expanded discussions of multiple comparisons testing. Given the increasing importance of survival analysis, the addition of this well-written chapter more than justifies a fourth edition.