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From The CriticsReviewer: John A. Robinson, MD(Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine)
Description: This book is a compendium of the basic and clinical aspects of rheumatology that supersedes a 1989 edition. The book is an effort to interrelate and consolidate information that constitutes the scientific basis for rheumatology. This is a difficult task since this involves multiple levels of molecular biology, biophysics and biomechanics integrated with the clinical practice of rheumatology.
Purpose: The book meets the editors' laudable objective; that is, to provide an encompassing source of rheumatology.
Audience: This book is primarily written as a core text and refernce source for subspecialists in rheumatology, internists, and pediatricians interested in rheumatology. It could serve as an occasional source book for orthopedic surgeons or physicians interested in rehabilitation.The invited authors are credible authorities on the subject matter presented.
Features: The illustrations range from good to excellent. Chapter 99, in particular, is excellent. Conversely, there is evidence of serious lack of proper editing of many figure legends, particularly in sections 1 and 2. Some have over 400 words in small print explaining figures. Color photographs at the front of the book are referenced to various chapters. While the pictures are attractive, they probably represent an additional cost to the book that is not justified by similar benefit to the reader. The references are as current as can be in a multiauthored textbook. However, many in the basic science sections are de facto out of date due to the rapid progress within the fields being described. The quality of the index and table of contents is good. The overall appearance of the book is better than average. The only unique feature of this book is its vast spectrum of clinical information presented.
Assessment: Although this book meets the need for a central or core text and reference source in rheumatology, it suffers from the unavoidable spectrum of mediocre to superior writing present in a multi-authored text. The ambitious — no, heroic! — attempt to provide a basic science foundation is ill-advised because most of the highly detailed molecular biologic information provided is not relevant to clinical rheumatologists; and most will be obsolescent or of lesser importance in these rapidly changing areas of molecular biology by the time the textbook is actually in print. Conversely, the critical concepts of basic biology relevant to the clinical areas in each chapter are well focused and highly readable. Overall, the clinical chapters are very good. The understandable tendency of the clinical authors to present a critical overview of the current basic biology relevant to their topic leads to an extraordinary amount of redundancy between sections 1 and 2 and the rest of the book. Finally, a glaring deficiency is the lack of in-depth discussions of somatoform, hypochondriacal, hysterical and malingering psychopathology that pervades rheumatology practice.