Ian Wilkinson, Tim Raine, Kate Wiles, Anna Goodhart, Catriona Hall and Harriet O’Neil
Published by Oxford University Press (July 2017) 10th edition
According to the publisher’s website (see the link above) “The world’s best-selling pocket medical handbook” so no pressure for this new edition then! To be fair it is a well known and highly respected book that I am sure has helped out numerous generation of junior and not so junior doctors as well as other healthcare professionals and medical students over many years. The first edition came out in 1985 and the original authors have now moved on to allow the next generation to guide this book forwards, and they seem to have done an excellent job. Although this is a pocket handbook don’t let that fool you that this is a summary of clinical medicine. Far from it, this is a detailed and wide ranging review of general medicine and it is impressive what it has packed between its vinyl covers.
This book has an significant pedigree, now in its 10th edition with a lineage extending back over 30 years. The writing style is crisp, to the point and practical-exactly what you would want. It is full of useful and relevant information to help you, help a patient and makes use of lists and short sentences, so that there is no wastage of words. Hence the amount of information that is available seems so large. It seems like it is a large textbook of medicine compressed into a pocket book. In saying that you would need to have big pockets for this book which although is compact but not thin, coming in at just under 900 pages.
A great place for this book is on a consulting desk, wards station or carried around if feasible. Ideally a web or app based version of the book would be ideal but this is not available with the purchase price of the book. However I don’t think there is much room to complain about the price of the book, at £29.99, it represents excellent value for money. There is so much to commend in this book but at its heart lies an excellent review of clinical medicine which is well written, fresh and up to date. Even better, this book will appeal to a wide audience and I am sure will continue the success of previous editions.
What is most impressive about this book, is it sheer breadth of coverage which is ever so helpful when reading around a topic generated via an interaction with a specific patient. However it is also easy to dip into and read a specific section simply to update your knowledge about a particular condition or topic. There is a neat touch with references at the back. All in all, this is an excellent book with a highly regarded pedigree (at the beginning of the book, see how many languages it has been translated into) at a very keen price.
Dr Harry Brown