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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Rita K. Getz, PhD (Midwestern University)
Description: This text is written to guide beginning anatomy or medical students through dissection of a human cadaver. This eighth edition replaces the seventh published in 1989 and has a new editor.
Purpose: The editor's intent is to provide "a concise and specific manual in the procedures for regional human dissection."
Audience: This manual is written for medical and anatomy students. With that in mind, the introduction and chapter on "Getting Started in the Laboratory" are well written and set the tone for the dissector.
Features: The manual contains 18 chapters, some of them quite short, to guide the reader through human cadaver dissection. The emphasis here is on "reader." There is a disproportionately large amount of text as compared to figures. The descriptive text is superbly written. Black-and-white illustrations accompany some of the text, but are generally too few and far between. Likewise, important terms are printed in bold-faced type, but many do not have a corresponding figure.
Assessment: The first edition of this manual was printed in 1937. In my comparison of the sixth, seventh and eighth editions, I find little that has changed. The seventh edition has several more figures than the sixth, and the clinical correlations have been removed from the eighth edition because the editor is of the opinion that students can find sufficient clinical correlation in other resources. As previously stated, the descriptive text is very well written, and is the best quality of the book. It is important to note that the dissection instructions are included in the text in a prose style rather than a stepwise approach, making it too easy to lose one's place. Of greater concern is the paucity of figures to illustrate dissection instructions and structures encountered in the dissection. The low number of figures detracts from the overall usefulness of the book. In fact, one chapter, just three pages in length, had no figures! I am at a loss to understand how students can be asked to dissect an area without any figures to guide the dissection or identification of structures. Students choosing this manual will need to use it in conjunction with an atlas or other anatomy resource with sufficient diagrams and photos. Given the wide variety of resources available to assist students in this topic, and the time constraints of most anatomy courses, it seems unlikely that students will find this manual to be as helpful as the editor intends it to be.