Reviewed by Dr Harry Brown
22nd Edition Published 2014
Edited by Brian Walker, Nicki Colledge, Stuart Ralston and Ian Penman
Published Churchill Livingstone Elsevier
I have known this textbook longer than I have known most of my family and friends! I used this as a primary source of information as a medical student (more years ago than I care to recall) in my clinical years. Even then one of the current editors taught me as a student. At that time the book was superb, and having reviewed the latest edition I retain the same opinion. It remains accessible, authoritative and pretty comprehensive in its coverage.
The book also retains its considerable clarity, readability and sheer breadth of subject matter. Being authored in the main by UK contributors means this is ideal for a UK practitioner or student. Although there is an international dimension as this book has been globally distributed, it is very much based on UK practice-all the editors are based in Edinburgh.
Although I would guess the prime audience are still undergraduates, this is an excellent book for both GPs and doctors in other specialties wanting to keep in touch with clinical medicine. It is a hugely comprehensive book which including the index amounts to over 1300 pages. However one of Davidson’s strengths is the readability of the text which is uniformly good throughout the book. The text is broken up into logical sections, the book is well illustrated and good use is made of colour and diagrams.
For a GP or a postgraduate, this book is ideal to use as a trusted reference source to look up an issue quickly when needing to brush up knowledge or check out a clinical situation surrounding a specific patient.
Bundled with the book is an online version which is available from a website and all you have to is rub off the access code on the inside front cover. Not only do you have a web version but this can also be accessed at no extra charge via an app on a Smartphone. Even better, the full book can be downloaded onto the phone and so available quickly for off line use. I found this very useful and has helped me in front line practice. Having the book available off line increases speed of searching but can take up valuable space on a Smartphone’s memory.
All in all, I found this book to have retained its position as an excellent one stop shop for clinical medicine for both undergraduates and a number of post graduates, in particular GPs. Throw in the web version and access via an app (with the option of both off and on line access) and you get an impressive offering. Considering the price, I think this provides very good value for a new edition published this year (2014). Even more impressive, this book is still at the forefront after so many years is a tribute to the man who started it all off, Sir Stanley Davidson.
Dr Harry Brown