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From The CriticsReviewer: Eugene A Davidson, PhD (Georgetown University School of Medicine)
Description: This is a comprehensive biochemistry book aimed at first year medical students. The chapters are written by authorities in each of the respective areas. As with prior editions, there are numerous clinical vignettes that emphasize each of the topics. The book was originally published in 1982.
Purpose: This book is one of several targeted at the medical school market. The goal is to provide comprehensive coverage of biochemistry with sufficient clinical material to address the oft-raised issue of relevance. In general, this is a worthy enterprise since much of modern medical science has a biochemical base and the physicians of tomorrow should be conversant with the technology. As with other books with the same goals, the book is large, detailed, and likely difficult to use as a primary study vehicle.
Audience: The intended audience is first year medical students and possibly, graduate students in a biomedical sciences curriculum. The multiple authors are generally authorities in their respective areas.
Features: As with most books covering this area, this book starts with a discussion of macromolecular structure and uses this to proceed with coverage of information transfer (nuclei acid biochemistry). Aspects of protein structure as related to function are then discussed, including material on enzyme kinetics and membranes. Metabolism occupies the remainder and is divided into the common pathways of energy production and utilization, and biosynthesis followed by integration, control and specialized tissues. Each chapter is accompanied by a short bibliography and sample questions for review; illustrations are of good quality. A feature introduced in the initial edition is a set of accompanying clinical scenarios to highlight key points in the chapters. The index is reasonably comprehensive. A useful appendix provides a short review of organic chemistry, valuable for those students somewhat removed from that course. A common problem encountered in multiauthor books is also seen here. The flow of content is occasionally uneven and there is a lack of uniformity in approach or style. Conversely, the overall field is sufficiently broad that single author efforts usually suffer from serious knowledge gaps, not seen here. Technical errors are few; noticeable was the use of an improper structure for the saccharide unit covalently attached to collagen. A lack in the current environment is the failure to provide an accompanying electronic image or study guide. Students wishing a comprehensive text in biochemistry will find this book satisfactory.
Assessment: As a fifth edition, this book follows along well traveled territory. New material in key areas justifies the new edition. There are several competitive texts (Berg et al.'s Biochemistry, fifth edition (W.H. Freeman, 2002) and Voet's Biochemistry, second edition (John Wiley & Sons, 1995)), each of which has advantages and disadvantages for the target audience.