An A –Z
16th Edition published 2016
Edited by Mark Kinirons and Harold Ellis
Published by CRC Press
Before delving into this book, it is worth taking a few seconds to read about Herbert French (1875-1951) who wrote half of the first edition in 1912. So this textbook is well over 100 years old and yet it still remains true to its roots. Not just retaining a nod to the original author in the title but it is an alphabetical index (from abdominal pain to wheeze) of differential diagnoses. It is unusual book in the sense that there are not many similar books around that I am aware of which tackles the subject matter in this style. However, a quick Google search and I did find a few possibly similar books and although I don’t know too much about them, all I can say is that this is a really good book.
Since this is a new edition, it is fresh and up to date but pleasingly very clinically orientated which will enhance its appeal to a wide audience. It is also well written and well illustrated and useful to dip into and read a relevant section. It is a really good collection of differential diagnoses covering a substantial number of conditions. However, it is not a book of lists but there is plenty of text and description of the conditions. Yet the lists are not overlooked and often included as text boxes. It is an interesting and different way of looking at the diverse situations that we can find across a large number of medical disciplines. It is also a great way of reminding ourselves of clinical situations that maybe we have not encountered for some time. Or simply updating our knowledge of conditions or situations that needs some refreshing in a user friendly manner. The shear depth and breadth of material covered here, makes it ideal for both GPs and their registrars. However, a large number of healthcare professionals will also find this useful as well as interesting.
Think of this as a non traditional, user friendly book but it is not a typical standard textbook. It is orientated towards symptoms and signs and clinical findings. It is an excellent collection of very readable medical information presented in a readable format. It is also surprisingly comprehensive and is well put together. Although it has an impressive pedigree from yesteryear, it is certainly up to the challenge of helping the modern physician. Equally it also represents good value for money and would be a very useful addition to a medical bookshelf.
Dr Harry Brown