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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: This is the 12th edition of an immunology textbook first published in 1971, one of the earliest designed for medical and dental students, as well as graduate students.
Purpose: From the first edition, this book's purpose has been to teach students the latest information and concepts about the immune system. Since immunology is a constantly changing field, updated editions are a must. This edition provides a lot of information both in the book itself and through a collection of online resources.
Audience: It is written for students — medical students, dental students, graduate students, and advanced college students. It also is a useful reference for anyone with a need for information about basic aspects of the immune system. The authors are well known for their expertise in various aspects of immunology and they have had access to figures from others.
Features: This is a standard textbook of immunology, updated with new information since the previous edition in 2006. Some features are likely to be particularly helpful to students. Each chapter begins with a section entitled "Just to Recap...." Because topics in immunology tend to weave around one another, this allows a student to understand how this new material fits in with what came before. A point-by-point summary and references for further reading end each chapter. Figures are plentiful and the color art helps to emphasize key points. There is a list of abbreviations as well as a glossary. Purchase of the book comes with access to a digital, interactive version that allows the user to search for topics, highlight and make notes right in the text, and use other features for organizing. In addition, a website provides self-assessment material, all of the figures and photographs for presentations, and references and further reading suggestions. Some of these features are more useful than others, but they certainly add to the usefulness of the book. The ability to search for keywords in the book is likely to be useful because, while the index is reasonably good, it is not perfect.
Assessment: There are many immunology books — this and two others have been updated this year. It may be difficult to choose among them, and instructors may choose one over another simply because they have used it before and the PowerPoint presentations for their lectures. However, Roitt's is a fine choice for a basic immunology course. Because of the many changes in what we know about the immune system, a new edition is welcome.