Two volume set
25th Edition Published 2015
Edited by Lee Goldman and Andrew Schaffer
Published by Elsevier Saunders
Reading the preface, I discovered that this book’s history spans 90 years (which is about right for 25 editions) and it is not always easy keeping a book dynasty like this, going through some changing and challenging times. So simply by the fact that it is here today must be some proof of its success and it was indeed a pleasure to review the latest incarnation of this of this impressive offering. Without doubt, this is an ultramodern textbook of general medicine which offers huge coverage to a large audience and is certainly well equipped for today’s demanding users. It has also embraced the digital age by providing a powerful and user friendly resource.
It comprises of 2 equal sized volumes and in total the collection runs to just over 2700 pages plus a detailed 108 page index. It is a general purpose textbook of medicine and it appears to be pretty comprehensive and detailed which is not surprising, as there is an impressive and substantial array of contributors-the vast majority seem to be from the United States. However this book and its digital components have a substantial amount to offer a global audience and certainly it is of great use to healthcare professionals here in the UK.
Both volumes are hardback and appear to be built to last whilst the paper is glossy which gives the book an impressive, almost regal presence. It is primarily a textbook of medicine and so not surprisingly the book is mainly text driven but is regularly broken into smaller sections which are headed up with a descriptive title. There are also plenty of illustrations in the form of diagrams, figures, tables and images along with an impressive use of colour.
Enough of the excellent layout and it looking good, but what about the content which is what will most interest prospective users? Well the content is superb, authoritative and not surprisingly very up to date. It is clearly written by experts and the editing is crisp and uniform which is a great tribute to the editors who have had to work hard to weld together all the contributions from the large number of writers who have submitted their expert thoughts. The breadth of coverage is truly impressive and almost every general medical topic I looked up was covered in significant detail and this applied to common and not so common scenarios. It was a very uncommon experience that I came away with no new information or learning. Without doubt this is an excellent, modern and up-to-date reference source. I am sure undergraduates and post graduates from a large number of disciplines will find this an excellent reference source. In this country GPs and specialists with an interest in general medicine will find this a great resource.
Another huge plus, is that bundled with the price of the book, is a web version available through a supported browser of any internet enabled computer. Even better, there is an app version which can be downloaded onto any supported mobile device and since the whole book content is downloaded (under WiFi of course as it is a huge 2GB download) it can be rapidly searched and there is no need for Internet access after the initial download. All these digital products are part of the excellent ExpertConsult package and add greatly to the value of the book. According to the blurb at the back of the book, access to the ebook is “forever” Also at the beginning of Volume 1 in the thick pages are QR codes to an illustrative clinical video which worked well on my iPhone.
All in all, this is an outstanding and modern general medical textbook which offers massive broad coverage and bundled with a new purchase is a great and highly useful collection of digital products. Best of all, I think considering the cost of this book and its associated digital products, it represents outstanding value for money. It will suit a wide range of users and I am sure when the centenary edition comes round, it will still be as good (if not better) as this current superb and scholarly edition.
Dr Harry Brown