Two volume edition
John Bennett, Raphael Dolin and Martin Blaser
Published by Elsevier Saunders
This is what an in depth textbook should be, a superb and vast, yet highly readable review of its topic. The title says it is about the principles and practice of infectious disease, which is a modest understatement. This massive two-volume production comprising of over 3500 pages plus a 120 page index is an excellent and scholarly work which seems all encompassing of its topic. Spending some time leafing through this impressive textbook makes me think of the huge amount of work which has gone into its production. Even more impressive is the vast knowledge contained within its 2 volumes. Now in a mature eighth edition, this is primarily an American textbook with an impressive number of contributors. But without doubt this will appeal to a global audience whose primary interest is the clinical aspects of infectious diseases.
The breadth of coverage is huge and I would suspect this would answer the vast majority of questions from both an infectious diseases specialist and certainly a GP. In reality this book is too detailed for a GP, though it is clinically orientated and would make a fascinating read for a GP who is interested in the subject or wants to read around a topic in depth for their own interest. Each chapter is self-contained, seemingly comprehensive but readable and relevant to everyday clinical practice. The production values of this book matches its scholarly content, it is made from top quality paper which gives the book a coffee table feel about it. Infectious diseases are a fast moving and constantly changing subject area and this book is good enough to help a specialist reader keep up-to-date, as well as acting as a highly reliable in depth reference source. Infectious diseases pose problems to every country in the world both developed and less developed. I am sure this book would be up to the challenge of supplying all the information relevant to a standard query. As an in-depth reference source, many other specialties will also find an interest within its content, that is relevant to their practice.
As would be expected, within the purchase price there is both online access via a website as well through an app on a mobile device. It can be downloaded for offline use onto a mobile device but beware; it is a big download at just over half a gigabyte. This makes these two large volumes more accessible to a clinician on the frontline. On a number of times, I tried to catch this book out but virtually every topic, I looked up was covered in great detail. Importantly, this detail was clinically relevant easy to read and was in-depth.
It’s difficult to find fault with this impressive offering and I suspect that anyone whose practice is mainly infectious diseases would want a copy of this. Not surprisingly, in view of what I have said, this book is certainly not cheap but if you’re going to refer to it regularly then for the right person this will make a marvellous addition to a personal library. I really enjoyed reviewing this first class book and certainly learnt a great deal from it. It also confirmed to me what a huge and complex topic, infectious disease really is.
Dr Harry Brown