Reviewed by Dr Harry Brown
26th Edition (Published 2013)
Edited by Norman Williams, Christopher Bulstrode and Ronan O’Connell
If you know nothing about this book then don’t be misled by the title – this book is certainly not short, it is probably the very opposite. It is an in-depth, yet readable review of general surgery and is an ideal reference source for students, GPs, junior doctors and even established surgeons will appreciate an update, especially when a problem does not lie centrally within their regular field. I have used this book before which is not really that surprising as it is now in 26th edition and was first published in 1932. Even though I have used previous editions, I only became well acquainted with it, well after its first publication date!
The trap for a well known multi-edition book is to fall into a rut and not move with the times as each edition is rolled out over every few years. But this latest edition, I am pleased to say has certainly kept up to date. It is a modern, fresh and a well illustrated book that has not forgotten its illustrious roots and basic principles but is very much a 21st century textbook.
It offers good depth and at just over 1500 pages covers all sorts of areas of surgery that is relevant to a large number of clinicians. It’s also good to see that the most of the contributors are British and so reflects very much the daily practice of surgery and disciplines here in the UK.
It’s a heavy and typical textbook with a strong hardback cover designed to cope with plenty of use. It certainly deserves to be used regularly, simply because of its huge depth, excellent coverage and ample colour illustrations. There is good use of text boxes and the plentiful amount of text is easy to read and relatively jargon free. It is simple to dip into and quickly revise a topic.
For a GP, this is an excellent book as it represents a one stop surgical reference book which should answer the vast majority of queries and issues. As befits a modern textbook, bundled with the price is access to an online version of the book and the ability to download onto a phone or a tablet with an app.
Overall this is a strong offering, maintaining the excellent tradition of a well established textbook which is modern, relevant and very useful.
Dr Harry Brown